Hmmmnn, it’s January 1st, 2010, I should be sharing some of my resolutions here in this space. I actually did the non-social media thing and wrote them down in my journal by hand with an actual pen earlier today. I don’t really like to refer to my lists as resolutions, because those sound like things people resolve to do for a few months to satisfy their GUILT feelings and then they drop off from their behavior patterns. I like to use the end of a calendar year to take stock in what worked and what didn’t and to re-tool my focus for the next year. My year has never been focused on the calendar year anyway. Spent 15 years living life in terms of P&G’s fiscal year of July-June and then later when I had kids who were of school age, I started tracking the year as a September-May deal- love those summer “vacations”!
2009 was a fantastic year for me personally and I find myself poised on the cusp of a new year with even greater opportunities. I am incredibly thankful for the wonderful journey that began last January that put me on a path with the most incredible people I have met in a very long while. I look forward to continued relationships with all of them and I see some great partnerships emerging in my work world.
Sometimes there is a feeling of loss and uncertainty when we raise our glass to toast the new year; afraid to let go of the one that is ending. I can tell you that I raised my glass with a smile and the knowledge that I am going to kick butt in 2010, won’t you join me?
In my previously addicted MMORPG days (that’s massive multi-role playing game for the uninitiated) we used to refer to our player relationships off-line as RL or “real life”. Players in game would ask clan members (yes, I guess I was somewhat of a nerd; although not so much from the computer technology aspect, but from the highly competitive aspect of being the best with the highest player stats….that’s a blog post for another day!) if they knew each other in RL or just via the game. Well, last night was a night for the Cincinnati Social Media Community to take their “game playing” completely off-line and meet up in RL.
The venue was Jag’s in West Chester, an upscale steak & seafood restaurant that was beautifully decorated for the holidays. We had the entire back room and patio of the bar section and had live music playing on top of the bar. You gotta see the pictures to truly appreciate this feat! The aim was to mix up the local social media community with other friends and colleagues from a variety of professional backgrounds to get a conversation started and facilitate learning. Anne Castleberry, Julie Sweeny Bogart and I are members of the New Media Cincinnati (NewMediaCincy) and Cincinnati Social Media (CincySM) social/digital networking groups. We met virtually through Twitter and Facebook this past May and became great friends. In fact, the three of us attended a recent REO/Styx concert and tweeted, twitpic’d and facebooked our hearts out as we swayed and clapped to the music. (Note: the flashlight app for iPhone works great in lieu of a lighter for classic songs like Come Sail Away!) It was at the pre-concert dinner that we hatched the plan for the Social Media Holiday Happy Hour. I think that several people were glad that we did!
Over 100 people registered for the free event which featured complimentary appetizers, drink specials, live music and prize drawings. Approximately 60 to 70 people representing a wide variety of backgrounds from social media folks, politicians (Charlie Luken was on the list), writers, non-profits, corporate types, attorneys, real estate professionals, bloggers, etc. made it out to Jags and from the comments that have been running on Twitter and Facebook, I think it was a very successful event.
Here are a few:
“Thanks for a great event, it was a good time and a great chance to network and catch up with people.” -Brandon Kilby
“Great job putting the event together…great turnout!” -Carole Baker Hicks
“Great job Michelle, Anne and Julie.” – John Fleck
“Thanks to Anne Castleberry, Michelle Beckham and Julie Bogart for a FANTASTIC party!!! Those appetizers were delicious. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a while; make new friends; catch up with friends; and had an absolutely wonderful time. Thank you SO MUCH for planning this. I look forward to the next one.” -Vickie Sceifers
“Wow-what a great party. Thanks for all you 3 did. We had a wonderful time. Everything was perfect and the place was just gorgeous. Met some interesting new people and many special friends.” -Ann Lightfoot
Thx to great girlfriends @julieunplugged @michellebeckham and @CastlePoint for fab & fun SM party last night!- Debba Haupert via Twitter
Cincy social media holiday party is a huge success w @benjaminmccall & Rhonda Silbiger @michellebeckham see pi http://tweetphoto.com/6563893 -Margo Rose via Twitter
@michellebeckham It was a great time! I’m glad I went and was able to meet you! Great job! -Annie of ArtsyGirtie via Twitter
Many folks asked the name of the organization putting on the event. They seemed surprised when I replied that there was no group, this was just about three friends throwing a party. No hidden agendas, no ulterior motives, just the pure desire to bring people together in the act of being social. I met someone who had been directed by his boss to come to our event in her place. He had no idea about the evening; just that there was a social media element and it made sense for their company to be involved. Gotta love it! Ended up having a great conversation with him and I’m sure he is thinking that his substitute attendance was time well spent.
The point of this post is to simply say that social media is a starting place and a conduit for building relationships that lead to community; but somewhere in the process one must take the connection off-line and into the real world. It is a fact that we all do exist in Real Life and it is here that we can create and establish deeper and more meaningful relationships, both professional and personal. Cincinnati is on it’s way to becoming a Digital Hub, I’m just glad to be along for the ride.
Pondering the issue of transparency vs. privacy this morning.
Posted two back-to-back links concerning Google on the C3 Facebook Fan Page this morning: one on Google Street View’s ability to show the ancient ruins of Pompeii and the second on the new Google Dictionary. As I posted these, I was reminded of my feelings this week as I set up my new Google Calendars. (Previously used Palm Pilot.)
I experienced a feeling of uneasiness as I added the minutia of my month to the screen. Couldn’t help but feel as though someone out there in Web-world, perhaps buried deep in Room 604 of the Google Laboratory, is going to have access to the ways I spend my days. Yes, I know this smacks of Big Brother, but I can’t help that forboding feeling as more and more of my life is becoming accessible outside of the four walls of my office. Although I did not make my calendars public (glad for this option), I still assume that someone, somewhere will have access to them.
I realize that this sounds strange and possibly a bit paranoid coming from a person who has voluntarily immersed herself into the social media marketing strategy world, but perhaps how I spend my time is the last bastion to my privacy and non-transparency. Growing up in a military intelligence household just makes me want to hold onto my privacy even more; at the very least the inner core of my personal brand. In the end, do you really want to know when my racquetball match starts? I think not.
First off, apologies for the lack of blogging. Vacation in my mind truly means vacation, so I have been enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Not to say that I wasn’t tempted to spill my guts in the middle of the night surrounded by the nocturnal sounds of a busy hotel in a highly populated city, but I kept my promise of checking out of social media for the most part.
“…the most part.” That little caveat is the subject of my post today. I purchased the eagerly anticipated Motorola DROID on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The DROID has a Google platform and was released on November 6th, 2009. Didn’t get it before because I knew that I would have little time to delve into it’s dark recesses or surf for just the right apps to make it incredibly useful. A road trip to a distant city was the perfect formula for playing with, I mean testing the phone. Read the Engadget DROID Review here:
My first reactions are as follows:
It’s BIG (especially if you saw the very cool LG-VX8700 I have been sporting for the past two years that is the size of a credit card and has such a metallic sheen that it doubles as a compact mirror)
It’s bulky- won’t fit in my jeans pocket
It’s a smart phone, so very cool to have portable PC capabilities
The Alert sound that it was automatically set to is this creepy R2D2 type android voice that says “DROID!” rather loudly. Scared the bejeebus out of me in the hotel. Have since learned to turn the phone OFF at night.
Apps- plenty of decent apps; although I love Apple’s much wider variety
Phone capabilities- I miss that intimate experience of having a clam shell design with the speaker nestled on top of your ear and the mic precisely at my mouth point. People say I come off as distant and the sound quality on my end doesn’t seem as clear either.
Also missing the One Touch numbers (maybe I just haven’t found this yet – NO INSTRUCTION MANUAL INCLUDED!!!), but I absolutely LOVE the Contacts integration with my Facebook Friends. Very cool to have everyone’s contact info in one place! The FB profile pic automatically loads as the avatar in my phone contact list as well. Love seeing who is calling me.
So to summarize thus far: Happy to have the DROID- I find it much better than a Blackberry. Would have loved the iPhone, but I’m tied to Verizon; although many friends with iPhones complain about the incessant dropped calls. That would drive me crazy. I do miss my sleek cell phone, but the reality is that most of my “conversations” are on social media platforms and my actual “talking” time is relegated to serious business conversations only. I am immersed in a social media world: it is my life, my business and where my friends hang out. Glad to be fully entrenched in a 24/7, no Wi-Fi needed world.
Will let you know if the love is still there in a couple of months!
Fall is in the air, sharp and crisp, as I maneuver my way down Hamilton Avenue in the heart of Northside. The sun is shining, the sky above is a deep shade of azure and completely cloudless. I am multi-tasking of course; trying to find the hip lunch spot Melt, looking for building numbers to determine whether to devote my gaze to the left or right and helping a friend with a serious personal problem via mobile. A loud horn breaks my concentration, just enough to see a parking lot with an artistic onyx metal gate surrounding it just up to my right. Still not quite sure where I am, I decide that parking and walking would probably be preferable to the locals honking their distate for my seemingly snail-like pace on the main drag. I figure if the locals can exist here without a car, then the walk can’t be that bad. As luck would have it (hmmn, did you know that I am partially psychic??), the lot was directly across the street from Melt.
Phone stilled glued to my ear, I remove my briefcase from the car and commence to cross the street where I am about to meet someone who quite possibly could change my life. What does this have to do with my promise to blog about social media in my life- a kind of spill your guts-social media raw pathway? Well, this Melt meeting was the exact example of social media done right.
Social Media is all about the conversation: an ongoing conversation where relationships are born and growth occurs through learning, friendships, business deals, connections. The power comes when these virtual relationships come off-line and into the leaf-strewn fall winds of our lives. Melt Monday brought two people together in the act of collaborating for the common good, who had never met before. What they had accomplished, was to belong to a greater virtual community on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn, where ideas had been shared and thoughts of future projects began to brew in the upstairs rooms of their psyches.
The previous virtual relationship allowed us to jump right in as if we had known each other for years, because in fact we already knew some of the background narratives. We spent about 3 hours over lunch at Melt and had coffee in a back tree-lined patio at Sidewinder discussing our synchronicities and plotting to take over the Cincinnati Social Media scene. Joking aside, we talked about how we could add to the vibrant social media community in Cincinnati and bring in some new ideas/projects that are working well in other parts of the country. (More to come on this in the future.)
In true social media fashion, I had the waitress at Melt capture our image for posterity and sent it on it’s mobile way to Facebook. Six months ago I met George Williams from New Orleans, Louisiana as a stranger on Twitter, last Monday afternoon I left Northside with a big hug from George Williams, my very good friend. Stay posted on what we cook up next- and you can take that quite literally!!
Pondering the question that Daniel Johnson Jr., founder of New Media Cincinnati (NMC), posed to the group at the recent Second Saturday Event on 11/14/09. The question was: “How Have We Changed In 2009?” At first blush, this seems like a vague and all-encompassing question, but what Dan was really trying to get at was the level of impact Social Media and participation in NMC had to play on our personal evolution for the year.
In response to the question we discovered that many in the group had begun Twitter accounts; started a Blog; created a Facebook Fan page and/or had started a business that involved the use of Social Media in 2009. There were about a baker’s dozen of the 60 in attendance who had parlayed their knowledge of social media into speaking gigs across the Tri-State and several who had begun Social/Digital Media businesses or were hired this year as Social Media Directors for another company.
Check out the Live Stream of the event HERE and listen in as people share the impact that being part of this group has made on their personal and professional lives.
My personal take on the question is that 2009 brought huge evolutionary changes to my life. I had been dabbling in social media on a personal level since 2005, the year that I began my novel Dreamscape which deals with the use of MMORPGs; addiction to the internet; the use of hidden identities; and the impact of on-line predators. I did a lot of research on the social media tools that teens and young adults were heavily into and received a good education on the virtual landscape. It wasn’t until late 2008/early 2009 that I began to incorporate digital & social media tools into the marketing work that I was doing and April of 2009 when I launched my own Consulting Firm: C3: Creating Connections Consulting. Throughout the launch, I had the pleasure and privilege of having some of Cincinnati’s brightest and best to be my mentors. I have found this group to be a wonderful community that believes in sharing, cooperation and most importantly: friendship. While many people embody all of these characteristics, I have to say that Daniel Johnson Jr. stands out as a person who selflessly gives of his knowledge and expertise over and over to everyone. As organizer of NMC, he has created the proverbial water cooler experience that brings people from different walks of life together to learn, share and grow from their experiences with one another. It is truly a beautiful space to gather in whether we are doing so virtually through the NMC hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn Group, Facebook Group Page or live on U-Stream at the Pub. (Side note: with roughly 45-60 members in attendance each month, the marketing folks among us should nudge the Pub to bring on the drink/app specials. Power in numbers people!!)
Second Saturday Event at the Pub
If you have a story that you would like to share about Daniel assisting you in any way in the Social Media realm or having an impact upon you due to the content that he puts out on his many sites (blogs, podcasts, notes, etc.), then please drop me a comment. Would love to see the picture that all of your responses paint of the man behind the cityscape of New Media Cincinnati.
Thinking a lot about relationships lately and realizing that ultimately we humans have been making connections with each other in the same meaningful way for a very long time. What has changed has been the medium through which these relationships have been nurtured and developed. Today we marvel at how an on-line friendship birthed on Twitter can spawn a great relationship that is further enhanced through in-person contact. This is no different than the friendships founded on the CB radio waves in the late ’70s when hordes of East Coast teenagers would sit in their fathers’ cars on driveways chatting away. Or in the early years of the internet when communities began to spring up around bulletin boards and forums.
So I am not surprised to see what others may call the phenomenon that appeared on my Facebook Wall recently. Usually not one to succumb to the many “quizzes”, polls, or games that populate the FB News Stream like confetti, I did fall prey to the Fancheck app several months ago. Being highly analytical in nature, I was curious to see who FB would churn out as my most frequent contributors/stalkers (meaning those silent readers of the Wall). The final results came in the form of a picture that was automatically posted in the Pic section of my profile.
Very few of the 21 Fans knew each other and actually represented a nice microcosm of friendships from every stage of my life and from across the U.S. I noted the results and then promptly forgot about it for months until…….I started receiving lots of notification messages that people were commenting on a picture. I hadn’t posted any pictures recently, so was instantly intrigued. What I found was that Facebook had recently auto-tagged the 21 folks listed as my #1 Fans, which caused the picture to pop up on their Wall and this led to the new comments. What happened next is that the friends who were commenting began to have a conversation amongst themselves, creating in essence a stream emanating from this one picture. I believe there were over 30 comments with Daniel Johnson Jr. mentioning that the stream was publishing more comments than a typical blog post might receive.
I found it to be great fun and just wanted to share that communities can be born organically through social media. Let’s take a look at some of the conversation, shall we??
(Colors represent different people.)
@Scott, did you ever live in NOLA? George above moved to Cincy from NOLA recently. And while I’m making connections, Scott used to work on a riverboat that would travel the Ohio to Cincy- not sure where in the south it originated though.
Never lived their but spent a lot of time there during my cruise ship/steamboatin’ days. The company was based in NOLA but we had Ports of Call all along the Mississippi.
@Scott Which one did you work? I was at House of Blues and Hard Rock for many years, I know the routine.
Watching this conversation is kinda awesome. More comments than many blogs I read. Here’s another one.
Nevermind. Just looked at your profile. You’re in New Iberia, eh? Any chance you ever get by the Boudin King in Eunice?