Today’s lesson: your private conversations ain’t so private

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on October 23, 2020 at 9:47 am

Big Mouth? Don’t be that guy (courtesy Hamed Saber on Flickr CC).jpgI don’t personally agree with his methodology, but I must admit I was morbidly fascinated by the results….

PR guy Peter Shankman was riding the train to some business-related destination when another man sat across from him, pulled out a cell phone and said “Apologies in advance, I talk a lot.”

Insert grimace here, right? Immediately don iPod/noise-cancelling headphones, and rue the advent of technology, right?

Shankman went further.

He could hear from the man’s constant chatter that he was conducting sensitive business on the phone, so Shankman decided that an object lesson was in order.

With a warning tweet out to his Twitter stream, Shankman turned his laptop around, faced it towards Mr. Oblivious Babbling Businessman and proceeded to livestream the guy on Yahoo LIVE.

I happened to see Shankman’s tweet, and out of curiosity (I admit, I knew this event had “Every Dot Connects blog post” written all over it) I watched the stream for awhile until it was cut off, including the guy yakking away to his lawyer about business information.

The instructive part of this drill was the comments.  When I logged on to Yahoo LIVE, about 50 people were listening to and watching Mr. Oblivious Babbling Businessman.  They were researching madly and posting….

His name.

His company.

His LinkedIn profile, including an aside that he only had two connections.

His ZoomInfo page.

His work phone number.

It was easy to do since the guy spoke fairly clearly and with plenty of detail. Chat participants also took screenshots of Mr. OBB and sent them to Shankman’s email account, for use in a future post, no doubt.

Chat members worried when the stream stopped and the screen went red (one wrote, “….the guy jumped him [meaning jumped Shankman] and the camera fell in a pool of blood, it appears.”)

It was the “definition of a train wreck” typed another online chat observer.

No kidding.

This is why so many people and companies freak out about the Web, and they SHOULD if they’re just now figuring out that everyone is a potential recorder/journalist, and laptops have Webcams (so if a laptop is facing you, it might behoove you to consider whether you’re being livestreamed.)

My thoughts….

  • It is not new that one should not conduct private business in public places, especially about legal issues.
  • It is not new that it is rude to talk and talk and talk on your cell phone in close, crowded public places.

What IS new is the ability of technology to instantly spread your foibles worldwide, if someone equipped with that technology chooses to do so.

In a perfect world, none of us would do stupid, rude things. It is not a perfect world, of course, and we aren’t going to stuff that livestream back into the pre-Web bottle, so people and companies had better understand….

  1. What this technology can do (meaning all the way up through the C-suite needs to understand what technology can do, not just “those IT guys”) and
  2. What it means to the never-a-good-idea of sweeping errors under the rug. You can run but you cannot hide.

I’m sure Shankman will get an earful about this incident, but I’ll submit this….he will get in a lot less trouble for doing it than Mr. Oblivious Babbling Businessman will get when that train pulls in and he goes to his office.

What do you think, readers? Was Shankman’s shot fair or foul?

Comments (25)

Category: Public Relations, Social Media, Video

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

Mansion of Terror - Halloween Social Media Style

Posted by Connie Reece on October 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm


In the continued blurring of the lines between content creators serving as “new media”, public relations professionals, mainstream media and the combination of all of the above, I was given press credentials and a media kit for an excellent haunted house here in Austin. In keeping with the interactive nature of social media, I was even invited to participate.

The Mansion of Terror Haunted House, in its fifth year in Austin, is inviting members of the media, including social media, to interact with and even be a part of their haunted house.

If you choose to, and they think you can handle it, you can be a part of the Mansion of Terror, getting a full Hollywood Make up FX session, as well as a Hollywood quality costume and acting lessons.

If you’re not feeling that much of the exhibitionism spirit, but still want to see how it all works, you can still hang out with the actors while they perform. We received invitations, as media, to hang out backstage and shoot footage, interview the actors, and generally get a “behind the scenes” view of a night at the Mansion of Terror.

Or you can directly shadow a specific Mansion of Terror actor. By hiding in the shadows, wearing black, and staying quiet, the Mansion of Terror Haunted House will allow you to document how their scenes and scares actually work. You’ll know the all the secrets.


I opted to be on the receiving end of the performances and went through both sides of the Mansion of Terror. It’s some pretty scary stuff, and I grew up on this kind of thing - thanks Mom! - so I know more than a little bit about what’s scary and what’s just corny. The Mansion of Terror will make even the most hardened among us start looking for the exits.

I’d recommend to any social media types who are here in Austin to contact them and see if they will allow you to take them up on their offer. If you don’t feel like being a reporter, you can go as a customer. It’s worth it. I promise you. Check out the Flickr slide show and the film clips on the website.

To get in touch with them email or DM on twitter @daveiam.

The Mansion of Terror is very social media centric. When you check out the website you’ll see they’re on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and, of course, FlickR. With so many ways you can follow and connect with them, it’s great for really getting into the Halloween spirit.

The best way to really know the feeling of horror and fear you will get from the Mansion of Terror, however, is to go visit in person. Good luck and Happy Halloween.

This haunted house has intense sequences of graphic violence, extensive blood and gore, small claustrophobic enclosed areas, extended periods of total darkness, strobe special effects. This attraction may be too intense for patrons under 13 years of age.

~Mike Chapman

Leave a comment

Category: Public Relations, Social Media, Social Networking, Twitter, Bloggers, Video

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

In a down economy, will PR and marketing experts turn to social media?

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on October 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm

Backing off of PR and marketing during an economic downturn is a natural reaction to bad news, but shutting down too far may not be your wisest business move.

There are still customers out there who will buy quality products and services, but they have to know about them first.  Since money is tight, companies should be thinking about using methods that provide the best value, to ensure they continue to engage with customers and keep their brand visible.

The video below is a hallway interview from PRNewser with two guys who have built semi-empires out of “nothing” but their own drive, talent and Web-based tools and communities — wine enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk and provocative online video maker and puppeteer Loren Feldman.

Gary Vaynerchuk says that, “In a down economy, the social media play has big ROI numbers.”  He doesn’t quantify other than to say it’s worked well for his wine retail business (and we’re the last ones who want to play drinking games with the social media Kool-Aid) but the fact is that this is where the action is, and if you aren’t at least poking around a little trying to figure it out, you’re late.

Vaynerchuk and Feldman’s methods are certainly not appropriate for every (or even many) companies, but ANY company should take note of how they’ve done what they’ve done online, at very little cost but with a ton of work.

I want to emphasize….social media may be cheap, but it ain’t easy.  Still, as Vaynerchuk says at the end of the video, that “standard” $50,000 ad buy in the dead-tree Esquire may not cut the mustard in this economy.

For our RSS and email subscribers who cannot see the embedded video box, here is the URL to click to see it.

Comments (2)

Category: Public Relations, Social Media, In the News, Marketing, Personal Branding

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

My Friend Eddie

Posted by Connie Reece on October 17, 2020 at 2:00 pm

This week I made a friend. His name is Eddie.

I want to be very careful about how I write about me coming to know Eddie. And by referring to him as my friend, I’m voluntarily obligating myself to actually being a friend. It’s a characterization I don’t want to take lightly.

You see, I met Eddie on the street. Specifically, I met him on the sidewalk next to the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, aka The ARCH. I met him when I spent one day with the homeless of Austin.

My other new friend, Alan Graham, introduced me to Eddie. They met each other on the street.

Eddie is homeless and can be found next to the ARCH, living on the sidewalk, outside of the resource center for the homeless in Austin.

Eddie is a real person. He worked at the Driskill Hotel as a cook for over twenty years. He grew up in Lubbock, Texas. I didn’t ask how it came to be, but it was obvious, that he went from working all his life to living outside the ARCH, where he is today.

How did Eddie end up where he is? Before this week, that’s where I would have probably concentrated my thinking. Not today.

I’m not tempted, as I might have been before this week, to figure it out. I’m more in a mode of acceptance that it is what it is. What I am not prepared to do is accept it as something that I can do nothing about.

I don’t know how, but I want to try and help Eddie find a place to live that has a door, indoor plumbing, electricity, a refrigerator, maybe even a television. He deserves that dignity.

I want to know more people who’ve ended up in situations like the one Eddie has found himself in.

Alan Graham has some ideas on how to house the homeless and to help them find a little dignity in the meantime. I’m going to see what I can do to support him in those efforts. If you’re interested, please follow our progress here and on the Mobile Loaves and Fishes blog.

~Mike Chapman

Comments (5)

Category: Social Media, Poverty

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

Poverty and Personal Crisis

Posted by Connie Reece on October 15, 2020 at 2:37 pm

Blog Action Day logo

Early this morning I stood in the shower, letting the water-as hot as I could stand it-cascade over my aching neck and shoulders.”This will probably be the most peaceful moment I have today,” I thought, lingering much longer than usual.

After only a couple of hours of sleep, I’d been awakened by a text message from my sister, Laurie. She had fallen and injured her “good” arm, the one she can lift above her head, and was on the way to the ER-1,300 miles away. A lifetime of rheumatoid arthritis has left Laurie’s bones brittle; she has steroid-induced osteoporosis.

Laurie puts in long hours as executive director of the Alliance for Paired Donation, a nonprofit oganization that significantly reduces the waiting time for a life-saving transplant through kidney paired donation. She is in Toledo, Ohio to oversee this weekend’s celebration of the one-year anniversary of the group’s first NEAD (Never-Ending Altruistic Donor) chain. It’s a personal and professional accomplishment, an event Laurie has been looking forward to for months.

And now this. Why?

And then I remembered my colleague, Mike Chapman, who had slept on the streets of Austin as part of a 24-hour Street Retreat, an immersion in the experience of being homeless. I’m so proud of his taking on this challenge and had been following his “embedded” tweets from the streets. Just before 1:00 a.m. he’d written -

We found a place near the courthouse to crash for a while. Outside but safe. Hopefully it doesn’t rain.

The last one I’d read before crashing had been sent at 3:54 a.m. -

Good morning from the rainy streets of Austin. I guess the rain means it’s time to wake up!

I was crying when I finally shut off the water and climbed out of the steamy shower. But they were tears of gratitude.

I was grateful that even though I’d only slept a couple of hours, they were spent in a comfortable bed while my friend Mike tried sleeping on the concrete in a downtown parking lot.

Grateful that I live in a beautiful home with my family in a nice, safe neighborhood.

Grateful that my brave sister, who has faced a lifetime of physical challenge, is able to work, and that she has a job with insurance.

Grateful that she works for a doctor who personally took her to the ER and will make sure she gets the finest medical care available.

Grateful that we have the resources for one of us to fly to Toledo and take care of Laurie.

Grateful that this personal crisis will be over in a few weeks. Broken bones will heal. Finances may be tight, but somehow medical bills will be paid.

I do not know what it is to live in poverty, and for this I am profoundly grateful.

On this Blog Action Day, I realize just how much our family is blessed, and how much we take for granted each day. One of our church members runs a homeless ministry and also helps low-income families with transitional housing. We are regular contributors-mostly through donations of clothing, household items, and food.

I can, and will, do more to help those who have nothing. What will you do?

UPDATE: My sister’s injury was pretty serious and will require othopedic surgery; she will need 24-hour care for a while. I’ve spent most of the day trying to make arrangements long distance. At this point we still don’t know if she will have surgery in Ohio or whether she will fly home for the operation. A dear friend is flying to Toledo in the morning to be with Laurie. We have family, friends, resources. And renewed compassion for those who don’t.

NOTE: See photos and blog postings from Mike’s immersion team at Mobile Loaves and Fishes.

Comments (15)

Category: In the News, Blogging, Twitter

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

Social Media Therapy at MProfs Digital Mixer

Posted by Connie Reece on October 8, 2020 at 10:24 pm

It wasn’t enough that Marketing Profs lined up two full days of outstanding content, broken down into three tracks (search, email marketing and social media) for their Digital Marketing Mixer this month in Phoenix … now they’ve gone and added Hot Seat Labs and One-on-One sessions.

I’m the designated Social Media Therapist, and I’ll be doing almost four hours’ worth of 15-minute consultations over the two days. I especially love working with “newbies” — bring your laptop and I’ll provide hands-on help building your profile on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Or we can talk about what the entry point into social media should be for your company, or you can ask questions about how your company is integrating social media into your total marketing strategy.

If you haven’t registered yet, click here or on the Digital Marketing Mixer badge in the sidebar to receive the Every Dot Connects guest discount of $200.

Note: Kool-Aid will NOT be served. It’s all about using social media to meet real business objectives.


Comments (2)

Category: Social Media, Events, Marketing

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

Give Dave Evans an Hour a Day

Posted by Connie Reece on October 5, 2020 at 8:52 pm

I caught up with Dave Evans this past week. He has not been as visible in social media circles here in Austin lately because he’s spent much of the last year writing a book, Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day.

Dave kindly gave me an autographed copy when he received his shipment from Wiley Publishing. The book will be available in stores in a few days, but don’t wait. Order it now at the pre-release price-not just because you’ll save about $10, but because you will want to start reading and applying the knowledge he shares right away.

What sets this book apart are the 55 exercises Dave includes. Spend an hour a day working through these exercises, and you will not only have a firm grasp of the principles of social media marketing and metrics, you will have designed your own social media campaign and created a presentation to pitch it to your company.

It’s refreshing to find a book on social media that goes beyond theory into practical instruction. I’m not just reading Social Media Marketing; I plan on filling in all the worksheets in the back of this 432-page book.

If you’re in Austin, come to our October 16 meeting at Social Media Club. We’ll be giving away a copy of Dave’s book. And if your’re not fortunate enough to be in Austin, then click on the Amazon link above and order a copy.

Social Media Club dinner in San Marcos October 2008

Author Dave Evans on the back row, far right, at a tweetup
with members of Austin and San Antonio Social Media Clubs

Comments (3)

Category: Social Media, Marketing, Books

  • Add this post to
  • -
  • Digg

Enter your email address:

New events from Every Dot Connects:
Jan. 29 Up to Speed with Sheila
Feb. 17 Consulting with Connie
Feb. 19 High Tech, High Touch with Jennifer