Eileen Smith: Social Media Success Story

Posted by Connie Reece on April 30, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Sometimes I wonder where this social media thing is leading and how it will affect the lives and careers of those of us participating. Several years ago, when I hardly knew what a blog was, I came across a great one here in Texas. I’m happy to report that it’s now part of a true social media success story.

In The Pink Texas, authored by Eileen Smith, aka Pink Lady, is one of the the best political blogs in the state, or anywhere for that matter, and I read them all.

I describe the blog as political because it is actually named for the pink granite from which the state capitol building in Texas is constructed and from which a wealth of political stories emanate. Most of Eileen’s posts are on politics, but ITPT is actually more of a social commentary on everything that catches Eileen’s attention.

As the late Molly Ivins proved during her life and career, Texas politics provides ample material for humorous writing and serious observations. Eileen Smith has taken Molly’s spirit into the world of social media. Eileen is a great writer, has a shrewd understanding of our culture and politics, and no one comes up with better headlines day after day.

When I drop in to see what’s happening on her blog, Eileen may be defending her choice for U.S. President against an angry mob of comment-makers, picking on the Texas Governor, or giving a great review of the latest episode of the Bachelor. It’s always funny, always smart, and she has a bevy of followers who regularly comment on her posts. Most of them use funny pseudonyms while providing politically incorrect insights of their own.

As far as I can tell, she never censors anyone even if they’re anonymous and rude. The community she has developed is fiercely loyal and seems to police its own. If someone is over the top in their comments, everyone gets on them. And don’t dare pick on the Pink Lady herself unless you can handle a virtual tongue lashing worthy of the strictest Texas schoolmarm from her followers.

If Twitter is, as Connie Reece has noted, a virtual water cooler, then In The Pink Texas is a virtual Texas bar where folks get together and let off a little steam throughout the day.

Just about everyone working at the Texas Capitol keeps an eye on In The Pink Texas. If Eileen doesn’t report the latest rumor, then one of the many members of the ITPT community probably will. It’s the wild west of journalism and those who ignore it do so at their own risk.

What makes Eileen’s story a true social media success is that her personal blog, which is part labor of love and part political addiction, drew the attention of the editors of Texas Monthly, a world-class publication based in Austin. This past year Texas Monthly hired Eileen to edit its online publication, TexasMonthly.com, where she is also thriving.

I don’t have a business relationship with Eileen, but she has spoken at the Austin Social Media Club, where she was great. I would encourage all of you to check her out and comment on the Texas Monthly blog and, if you’re adventurous, In The Pink Texas.

It may be presumptuous of me to do so, but, if I’m allowed as a Friend of the W-List, I would like to suggest that Eileen Smith would be a great addition to the list.

~Mike Chapman

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Category: Social Media, Connections, Bloggers

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Honoring Military Moms On Mother’s Day

Posted by Connie Reece on April 24, 2020 at 11:16 am

In just a couple of weeks it’ll be Mother’s day and for more than 10,000 moms who serve in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’ll no doubt be a tough one.

Not long ago I posted about a project Connie and I are working on with Trish Forant of eMail Our Military (eMOM) and Conrad Hametner of Qipit that hopefully will help make their Mother’s day just a little bit better this year.

The project involves enhancing Trish’s efforts to communicate by email with the troops while they are separated from their families. Qipit’s contribution is to provide a free and easy way to add a personal touch to the email.

On this Mother’s Day we’re all going to ramp up our efforts to reach out to the troops, especially the moms but not only the moms, and line up personalized, “qipitized” emails.

I encourage all of our readers to link up to Conrad’s site and Trish’s site to learn more. If you have any trouble, DM Conrad on Twitter. He can be reached @hametner.

It may not seem like much, but every little bit helps. I’m a military brat and I remember well the impact our care packages had on my Dad. It’s not as easy to do those same kind of mailings anymore, so please think about sending an email with a personalized message attached.

Anyone can join eMail Our Military. It’s easy. Just go here. I’m also sure that if you would like to do some artwork using Qipit, and aren’t sure about signing up for eMOM, we could use it in our efforts as well.

You can also reach the rest of us at Trish, @mailourmilitary and @Dayngr, Connie, @conniereece and me, @mikechapman.

~Mike Chapman

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Category: Social Media, Connections

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Austin Social Media Club is Growing

Posted by Connie Reece on April 16, 2020 at 8:09 am

I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to re-post a piece from the Austin Social Media Club site published today so that we can get the word out to as many folks as possible about a meeting this Friday.

~Mike Chapman

Organizational Meeting - Friday, April 18, Cafe Caffeine, Noon

In 2006, when I first heard Connie Reece talking about this phenomenon called social media and then later include me in the start-up of the Social Media Club, I had no idea just how quickly so many good things would result from it. To avoid using this post for overly blatant self-promotion, I’ll summarize by saying that we’ve gotten really busy over a very short period of time.

Being involved in the Social Media Club has been extremely effective for us in creating relationships and forming networks across the Austin area and around the world. In fact, Connie is now the Executive Director of the entire international Social Media Club.

Conrad Hametner, Cynthia Baker, Chris Leonard, Kelley Burrus, Brenda Thompson, Clint Howell, whurley, and all of the other co-founders and supporters who’ve been involved since its inception are enjoying the benefits of being involved in the Austin SMC.

We’ve had some excellent programs including John Moore of Brand Autopsy, the Dell Digital Media team, panels on politics with Jon Lebkowsky, Eileen Smith and Sam McCabe, how to create social media news room, Adam Weinroth of Pluck, Second Life, and much more.

We’ve gotten busy with so many new projects, however, that we’ve let our meetings slide for a few months here in Austin. We’re admitting, in public, that we need help. We need even more people involved in order to take the Austin SMC to the next level.

We’re meeting this Friday, at Cafe Caffeine around noon, so we can brainstorm and continue the conversation while looking to the future. We have no preconceived ideas - well, maybe a few - but are quite confident that the results will be better than we could plan or manage alone.

If you’re interested in collaborating on the next phase of SMC, please be there. Cafe Caffeine hosts Jelly in Austin every Friday - one of the main reasons we picked the day and location - and the atmosphere and attitude is exactly what we’re looking for. In case you’re not familiar with it, Jelly is a casual coworking environment which is also international in scope.

Even if you can’t be there, join us anyway by commenting here. As all of us who are a part of social media know, this is a team effort and everyone who is interested is invited. We look forward to seeing you or hearing from you this Friday.


P.S. Just about everyone mentioned in this post Twitters. You can follow me @mikechapman and I’ll introduce you around if you’re new. We’ll be twittering during the meeting on Friday and you can join in the conversation from anywhere.

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Category: Social Media

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Floggin’ in Austin

Posted by Connie Reece on April 5, 2021 at 7:50 am

I’m shocked, shocked that a political consultant would use innuendo, rumors and false statements to try to gain advantage in a political contest. I’m not, really. After all, that’s how the game of politics is played by many who are the most successful. So I guess I wasn’t surprised when a political consultant was caught using a “flog” - a fake blog - to carry out a political agenda on behalf of a client.

In the battle to replace Austin based District Attorney Ronnie Earle - who is best known nationally for playing a major role in dethroning Republican powerhouse Tom DeLay over alleged criminal behavior in office - ethics is naturally a major and important issue.

In the race between two Democrat protégés of Earle, charges are being aired in television ads by Rosemary Lehmberg that her opponent Mindy Montford is not as ethically qualified for the position because she has accepted campaign contributions from state lobbyists. The DA in Austin has a unique role among Texas DAs because, by virtue of representing the county where the State Capital is located, he or she can investigate and prosecute state officials and people who violate state campaign and finance laws, including lobbyists. Being totally independent from them is a very important issue.

Considering the shenanigans that lobbyists and lawmakers have pulled in Texas over the years, it makes sense to have someone in that position who is not beholden to any of them and someone who is above reproach ethically. Lehmberg seemingly had Montford on the ropes on the subject as the two of them headed into a tight runoff election scheduled for this Tuesday, April 8th. Then the flog settled in.

In what was probably considered a very clever political maneuver by Kelly Fero, Lehmberg’s campaign consultant, he created an anonymous blog called AustinPoliticalReport.com. In a recent post, Terry Keel, a prominent local Republican, is accused of helping Montford in the race, thereby insinuating that she would be too friendly to those she should be keeping a legal eye on.

The blog, which promises “the best buzz and most reliable rumors in the political capital of Texas and surrounding communities,” gives no information on who is writing it or any sourcing for the stories posted on it. Apparently Keel decided he wanted to find out who was behind the blog and did. Now he’s suing for libel and filing a criminal complaint.

What’s the big deal, you might ask? There are any number of boneheaded bloggers making stuff up every day on the internet. It is, after all, the “wild west” of communications. That’s part of the allure to many, including me, I’ll admit.

The problem here is that the Lehmberg campaign then emailed its supporters about the story anonymously posted by its own campaign consultant as though it was a credible news source. Keel, a former prosecutor himself, a former Travis County Sheriff, a former State Representative, the current Parliamentarian for the Texas House of Representatives, and a hardball lawyer in his own right, has decided to pursue the case.

So, Keel is pursuing civil and criminal legal action, the candidate for DA who was trying to take the high road on the ethics issue is trying to explain she knew nothing about the flog or the connection to her own consultant, and all with only a few days left until the election. The Austin American Statesman has provided good coverage so far but the local political blogs have been pretty quiet about it.

This incident may not dramatically impact the election. I still haven’t decided who I’m going to support and I’ll try not to let the antics of a political consultant, who defies the ideals of authenticity and transparency, impact my decision making too much.

This incident does prove, however, that the issues and concerns we’ve discussed at Social Media Club meetings and in other forums and conferences on the subject are now being discovered by the larger public.

Lehmberg has now dismissed Kelly Fero, apparently taking the matter very seriously. After all, if one of her lawyers brought bogus evidence into a court case, would it be seen as just a miscommunication? Or would it be taken extremely seriously? I think we know the answer to that. This incident should be taken seriously.

Note - Rosemary Lehmberg went on to win nearly two to one in a runoff marked by a very low turnout.

~Mike Chapman

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Category: Blogging

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