Podversation 03 - David Neff on SharingHope.tv

Posted by Connie Reece on March 25, 2021 at 12:55 am

If you followed the story of the Frozen Pea Fund from the beginning, you know that just before Susan Reynolds was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, David Neff of the American Cancer Society had asked me to do some pro bono work for the Society on a new project. SharingHope.tv has now launched, and I’m very happy I was able to be part of the effort to let people know about this new Web community created to help connect cancer survivors, their friends and family members.

David, who is director of Web and interactive strategy for ACS, was kind enough to sit down with me recently and talk about the origins of the idea for SharingHope.tv, and why they decided to build it with Ruby on Rails and enable OpenID. (My video skills obviously need a lot of work. Note to self: buy a tripod for the Flipcam.)

SharingHope.tv allows users to

* upload videos, photos, music or artwork
* add free background music from independent artists
* view content, make comments, and share it with others
* embed videos on their own blogs or MySpace and Facebook pages
* store twice as much video content as YouTube
* log in with an existing OpenID
* create an OpenID using ACS Passport

For more information, read the news release. Susan Reynolds has started posting videos on SharingHope.tv, sharing information she wishes she’d had access to before her surgery, such as this one where she talks about the process of making treatment decisions.

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Category: In the News, Video, Podversation

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Feed Reader Down, Reading Up

Posted by Connie Reece on March 23, 2021 at 11:16 pm

A few months ago I did some serious pruning on my Google Reader, which was choked by an overgrowth of blog feeds. I’d been trying to stay around 200-250, but somehow the number kept climbing toward 300. One day I decided I had officially hit Information Overload. I was either spending so much time reading that I had no time to write, or I was feeling guilty for clicking on “mark all as read.”

Choices were difficult, but I managed to cut back to 50 RSS feeds. It meant I missed reading some people whose writing I really liked, but it became much more manageable and enjoyable.

Now I’m trying another tactic: cutting RSS feeds even further, yet increasing the number of blogs I read. Here’s how I’m accomplishing that.

1. Twitter links. Many of the bloggers I regularly read are on Twitter, so I have unsubscribed from their feed. Whenever they tweet a link to their blog, I click to open it in a new tab. At some point during the day, I’ll skim through the posts and close out the tabs. I try to comment on several blogs every day.

2. Instapaper. When I come across what looks like a good read but I don’t have time for it at the moment, I click on Read Later in my browser toolbar. This handy bookmarklet creates a personalized newspaper with the links I’ve saved. When “later” rolls around, I can browse through the links and Skip, Edit or Delete them. By the way, Instapaper was developed for the iPhone, so it’s a great mobile tool as well as Web app.

3. Social Media Today. Because social media is my primary business, many of the feeds previously in my reader were from people writing in the field. Most of those same bloggers, however, are published at Social Media Today. I pulled their Vortex widget into my home page for Netvibes, which has replaced my Google Reader. With one click I can check the latest posts from scores of bloggers.

4. Marketing Profs Daily Fix. Many of the top voices in marketing are featured here, so I have unsubscribed from their individual blogs in favor of reading them at the Daily Fix. Of course, when I read an article by one of my favorite marketing bloggers, I often click through to their blog to browse around and see what catches my eye.

5. Alltop.com is Guy Kawasaki’s latest venture. I was flattered to be included both in the section for Social Media and the Twitterati, but I did not think I would have much use for the site myself. Recently, though, I’ve been using it to find new voices in areas outside my primary interest of social media. Want to find information on personal finance or small business, for example? Alltop.com is a good starting point.

So what’s left in my feed reader? Mostly fun stuff, like I Can Has Cheezburger and Crazy Aunt Purl, “the true-life diary of a thirty-something, newly divorced, displaced Southern obsessive-compulsive knitter who has four cats. (Because nothing is sexier than a divorced woman with four cats.)” Laurie Perry’s ramblings have turned into one of my all-time favorite blogs.

The item I check most frequently in my feed reader is what I call my “me-monitor.” It’s where I subscribe to feeds based on search results for my name and our blog name.

So far I am actually reading more posts, by more authors, and I have given up worrying whether I’ve missed something important. If it’s truly important, I’ll come across it some place besides my feed reader.

I’m still a candidate for social networking rehab, but at least I’ve broken my RSS addiction. How about you?

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Category: Social Media, Twitter, Bloggers

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Five White Men Talk About Social Media

Posted by Connie Reece on March 21, 2021 at 3:54 am

Although I came of age at the height of the so-called Flower Power and Women’s Lib movements, the extent of my feminist activism was trying to join a men’s intramural snooker team as a freshman at Baylor University. Actually, that wasn’t even my idea; the guys I hung out with in the Student Union wanted to draft me because I frequently beat them. But I was denied permission to join a men’s team, and the administration refused to make snooker a coed event. So my days as a young, idealistic rebel — including momentary thoughts of a possible future as a professional billiards player — were short-lived.

All these years later I’m feeling some righteous indignation again. Maybe I’ve just been hanging out with Queen of Spain on Twitter for too long. (I’ve even been reading her blog occasionally, but don’t tell her.) Although Erin’s a couple of decades younger than I am and way more liberal, we agree that women are still treated differently, and that it gets old being invisible.

Every few months the blogosphere revisits the topic of gender differences at conferences. Jeremiah Owyang recently asked the recurring question: where are the women speakers in social media, picking up on a post by Lena West, X Chromosome Web 2.0 Rock Stars. Where the discussion really gets going is deep into the comments, with people cross-posting on both blogs.

This is my favorite quote from Lena:

People keep talking about how women are such ‘naturals’ at what makes social media so effective, so why aren’t the female leaders more visible? …

When I ask the question: Who are the male ‘action figures’ in social media? You can almost see them in your mind’s eye.

But, I ask, who are the female power players in social media…we start creating lists.

This afternoon I got an email from fellow Dot-Connector Brenda Thompson with the subject line: “Five White Men Talk About Social Media.” That got my attention and I opened the email right away.

“This just REALLY annoys me,” Brenda wrote. “The Chamber of Commerce is doing a thing on social media. … [she names the panel lineup] … It’s nothing against any of them, but did anyone think for a minute that they should have a woman on the panel?

“Having just renewed my chamber membership for a hefty $439, I will be passing along my thoughts to them, as well.”

It irked me too. It’s not like the organizers would have had to look very far to find some outstanding women to speak, and I’m not just referring to myself. In less than 30 seconds, Brenda and I came up with a list of five or six local women who would have made great panelists.

See, lists are easy to make. But women on lists are still invisible if conference organizers aren’t looking for the list.

We could debate endlessly about why women still lack visibility and what it feels like to be invisible (I’ve got some stories, so don’t get me started).

Instead, I’ll leave you with one anecdote that underscores the problem. This comes from BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort, pointing to Mary Hodder’s recent review of a New York Times article about girls who code online content:

So when they interview people like Doc Searls, Loic Le Meur or David Weinberger, all of whom are very smart about tech, those articles are in the Tech section or Business, but when they talk to girls, who for the record, are far more technical in this article than these three tech experts, girls are put in Fashion. I’ve never seen coverage with Doc or David or Loic in Fashion.

Maybe I need to take up snooker again. This time around I won’t take “no” for an answer. And I want my championship reported in the Sports section, not Fashion, even if I’m wearing my pink boa.

Update: I have indeed been officially invited to join the panel (which, I repeat, was not my purpose in writing this post) and am preparing a bio blurb for future publicity for the event. To avoid scaring the suits, I’m going with a corporate headshot, not my boa avatar.

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Category: Social Media, Events

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Podversation - Wanda Jackson at SXSW

Posted by Connie Reece on March 10, 2021 at 6:00 am

Wanda Jackson rock ‘n’ rollShe sparkles. Even without the stage lights or her signature sequins and fringe. Wearing a plain pair of jeans and a cotton shirt, Wanda Jackson walks onto the tiny stage at the Continental Club for a sound check. I can’t help noticing that she’s a tiny woman. But when she picks up the microphone, the band strikes a chord, and she growls, “Some people like to rock, some people like to roll,” there is no doubt that the larger-than-life Queen of Rockabilly is still making a statement at age 70: “Let’s Have a Party.”

The Smithsonian Channel invited me to sit down with Wanda while she was in Austin for a screening of the documentary of her life, The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice. A second SXSW screening will take place on March 14, and the worldwide broadcast premiere will be Sunday, May 18.

In the 1950’s Wanda Jackson toured with the men who would become the legends of Rock ‘n Roll: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, and the King himself, Elvis Presley, whom she dated briefly. Although she was the first woman to record a rock ‘n roll song, Wanda Jackson has yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

That leaves Elvis Costello, who recorded “Crying Time” with Wanda on her 2003 CD, Heart Trouble, incensed. In an open letter to propose Wanda’s induction into the Hall of Fame, Costello wrote, “Look around today and you can hear lots of rocking girl singers who owe an unconscious debt to the mere idea of a woman like Wanda. She was standing up on stage with a guitar in the hand and making a sound that was as wild and raw as any rocker, man or woman, while other gals were still asking, ‘How much is that doggy in the window?’”

My Podversation with Wanda Jackson is split into two parts; we got interrupted for a sound check with the band. Both parts are included below, along with a snippet I recorded during the sound check. It’s a duet with Wanda and Rosie Flores. I could barely hold my little Flip cam still; I wanted to tap my feet, swing my hips and sing along to “Woman, Walk out the Door.”

Special thanks to my Twitter pal, Paull Young, for having a hunch that I was a Wanda Jackson fan. Check out the work he’s doing for the Smithsonian Channel Community.

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Qipit and eMail our Military - Supporting the Troops

Posted by Mike Chapman on March 9, 2021 at 4:49 pm

Though social media connections, namely Twitter, Connie and I have been part of creating a new relationship with a client of ours, Qipit, and a great organization we’ve come to know even though we have yet to meet in person, eMail our Military. Qipit is based in Paris and San Francisco, and eMail our Military, also known as eMoM, is based in Miami Lakes, Florida.

Conrad Hametner of Qipit, @hametner on Twitter, and Trish Forant of eMoM, @mailourmilitary, are now friends and colleagues and thanks to social media tools, are now working together on a project that reaches our military personnel overseas and who are separated from their families.

I’m a military brat myself. My dad, a “lifer” in the Air Force, was twice stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam war. So I’m very familiar with the hardship military families go through when they are separated.

eMail our Military was created in response to restrictions placed on regular snail mail in the current age of chemical warfare and following 9/11. Emails have replaced regular mail making it impossible to send many of the things we used to send my dad. Artwork, photographs, and other keepsakes, can only be copied or scanned. That’s if the military family can afford to do so on often very tight budgets.

Qipit’s idea is to offer military families their free service as a part of the eMail our Military program. By using a digital camera, Qipit allows for a high quality pdf to be made of artwork, photographs, love letters, report cards, legal documents, newspaper articles, or whatever you want to photograph and attach. The really great thing about it is that they can be sent quickly.

I remember waiting weeks to get a response from my Dad after we sent him a care package. This is so much better and it allows for that “almost being there” feeling that all military families crave so much when they’re apart.

You can help out even if you’re not a member of a military family. Some of our troops are single, may not have kids, and all of them can use a friend or a kind word. I encourage you to contact Trish at eMoM and get involved. All the links are here in this post, but if you have a question about any of this, please feel free to email me at chapmanmd@gmail.com or DM me @mikechapman.

I can assure you that any little thing you do, whether it is getting an email to a member of the military, contributing money to eMail our Military (they are a non-profit), or just spreading the word about this new program on your own blog, would be very, very helpful.

Regardless of our own individual political views, we can all show our support for the troops.

qipit_sticker36.jpg ~ Mike

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Why SXSWi is like visiting Disney World

Posted by Sheila Scarborough on February 28, 2021 at 8:00 pm

A scene from the Clone Wars: SXSWi goodie bags awaiting pickup (Scarborough photo)I’m a parent and a travel writer, so of course I’ve gritted my teeth through “It’s a Small World After All,” stood patiently in long lines to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and scribbled advice for anyone else who wants to tackle the Walt Disney World behemoth.

The similarities are striking between planning an assault on WDW and sorting out the myriad possibilities during next week’s jam-packed South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) tech conference in Austin, Texas.

I’ve always advised prospective Disney visitors that unless they want to spend a lot of money to be really frustrated, they need to do their homework to enjoy the parks. You can’t just give it all over to serendipity; there’s too much going on and too many people all trying to do the same things.

It’s the same with SXSWi, but the lure of connection, learning and good times at conferences is like the search for magical Disney moments, right? Aww, put on your Mouse ears and go with me on this one….

Here’s some Disney advice applied to “South By:”

1. Research. Lay out a game plan. At Disney, know the park layouts (yes, WDW is more than one park) and the rides/shows that you really want to see. At SXSWi, know the event layout for each day of the conference — major keynotes, the panels that you don’t want to miss and evening parties that sound promising. I’m sorry about the gobs of awesome events going on simultaneously, but cloning is not an option.

2. Use FASTPASS. Well, maybe there’s no real SXSWi equivalent to Disney’s scheduling system for the most popular rides, since everyone has the same conference badge, but I’ll call it FASTCHAIR. To state the obvious, unless you like standing at the back of crowded rooms for popular speakers/panels, get there early for a seat where you can see and hear. You did pay a lot of money to do all this, so be in a comfortable position to enjoy it.

3. Block out open time so your head can breathe. At Disney you can crash at your hotel so the kids can play in the hotel pool, but somehow that option isn’t as much fun at SXSWi. Instead, you may want to talk to exhibitors like Creative Commons or Utterz while wandering/schwag-collecting in the Interactive/Film Trade Show + Exhibition, see exhibitor special events or watch the Frag Dolls all-woman gamers team kick some overly-confident behinds during the ScreenBurn gaming fest.

4. Don’t forget to eat. At WDW you can call ahead to (407) WDW-DINE to make lunch and dinner reservations at park restaurants, but many don’t do that and end up standing (with itchy kids) in long, hot lines for food. At SXSWi, there are some small food kiosks and cafes in the Convention Center, great BBQ nearby and plenty of Austin eateries, but I always carry a couple of energy bars and water in case my hunger intersects with a speaker that I don’t want to miss. Be your own food Sherpa.

5. Go to the back of the park first. When the parks open at Disney, many visitors start with rides and attractions at the front of the complex. Instead, go straight back and work your way to the front, to help avoid mobs and find lesser-known gems. At SXSWi, you’ll probably have to “throw some sharp elbows in the paint” at popular panels/keynotes, but speakers are much more accessible at Book Readings, the Adobe Day Stage Cafe (where then-unknown Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek spoke last year) or at the live interviews at Studio SX in the Exhibition Hall. Two examples of great stuff at SX Studio 2008: Techsploitation’s Annalee Newitz chats with Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani, and keynoter Henry Jenkins talks to author Daniel Pink about the first business guide done in Japanese manga.

6. Prepare to walk. I’ve seen some really dumb footwear at both WDW and conferences, and I get to sound like your Mom now because I am one. Wear shoes that you can get around in. The Convention Center does have some rooms off in the boonies, and while downtown Austin is fairly compact you will do some walking unless you have unlimited funds for pedicabs or taxis. March weather in Austin can range from 30-80 degrees F. Really.

7. Reserve lodging early. Doh. The most desirable, most convenient lodging at the best prices needs to be reserved early, both at WDW and at SXSWi. It’s a little late for 2008, but if you are pretty sure you’ll be back to South By in 2009, lock down a room now. Even better, amongst all the great people you’ll get to know, nail down an Austinite who will have a spare room/floor space for you next year.

Any big, sprawling venue like Walt Disney World or South by Southwest Interactive holds the promise of amazing experiences or overloaded misery, but a little forethought and planning can help anyone navigate towards the better of the two possibilities.

Final hint: do not miss Bruce Sterling’s yearly end-of-SXSWi rant, even if you’re hung over (or especially if you’re hung over.)

See you in Austin!

More resources:

  • Social media tools like Twitter, Seesmic, live-blogging etc. change how we absorb information at conferences
  • Connie Reece, Robert Scoble, Jeremiah Owyang and others light up the night at An Evening of Conversation Starters on March 10
  • Chow down on where to eat during SXSW 2008, from the helpful SXSW Baby!
  • Need help figuring out where all the parties are? Step right here for the Shiner beer-assisted map
  • SXSWi 2008 coverage in the local indie Austin Chronicle
  • SXSWi events on Upcoming.org, even including a rodeo visit
  • Hey, there’s not enough going on — let’s do BarCampAustin III!
  • SXSW ‘08 Insider’s Guide on ning

Networking and meeting great people:

  • Online networks expand your in-person networks and 5 mindsets to reshape your networking
  • SXSW: How to fit in at a geek conference, from a Texan who knows
  • Austin-based Thom Singer’s 66 tips for better networking
  • Chris Brogan’s ideas for improving your conference meet-ups
  • Join the Twitter village and see all the tweeps coming to Austin on the SXSW Twitter wiki
  • The ultimate guide to networking with bloggers, on ProBlogger

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Category: Social Media, Events

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A Don’t-Miss Event during SXSWi

Posted by Connie Reece on February 26, 2021 at 9:04 pm

So many online friends will be in Austin for SXSW, and I had planned on being there every day and meeting up with as many of them as possible. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend much of the conference, but there’s one place you can be sure to find me on Monday night — at the Conversation Starters event the Social Media Club of Austin is co-sponsoring. Here’s the scoop:


Federated Media and Dell, along with Bulldog Solutions, The Conversation Group, and Social Media Club Austin, cordially invite you to join us for an evening of “Conversation Starters” at the Iron Cactus on Monday, March 10, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Over drinks and appetizers, you’ll have a chance to share ideas with a number of people who have volunteered to start conversations: Shel Israel, Robert Scoble, Jeremiah Owyang, Charlene Li, Chris Heuer, Mack Collier and Lionel Menchaca, as well as several Federated Media authors.


Space is limited, so please register and print out your confirmation.




Hope to see you there!

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Connie Reece interview on FIR

Posted by Connie Reece on February 18, 2021 at 12:18 pm

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson for their program, For Immediate Release. As a fan of this popular podcast, I was happy to have the opportunity to talk to them in person, especially when the topic was one of my favorite projects, the Frozen Pea Fund.

The interview is about 30 minutes. Click to listen: FIR interview: Connie Reece, Frozen Pea Fund

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Category: Social Media, Fund-raising, podcasting

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Podversation 01 - Gene Smith and Tweeterboard

Posted by Connie Reece on February 13, 2021 at 1:28 pm

In this interview Connie Reece speaks with Gene Smith, creator of the Tweeterboard, a tool for “conversation analytics” on Twitter. Gene goes on the record about the Tweeterboard algorithm; his intent to measure engagement, not popularity; and how he recommends people use the data provided.

Quick Take-aways:

  • the number of Twitter users tracked as of today is 3,883
  • Tweeterboard continues to add about 10 users per day
  • the algorithm used is the same as the one used for Google Page Rank
  • Halo 3 was the inspiration for the Box Score spread
  • Chris Brogan is #1 on the Tweeterboard today

About Gene Smith
Gene is a consultant specializing in information architecture strategy, social classification like tagging and folksonomies, emergent information architecture and interaction design. He is a principal at nForm User Experience and is also author of Tagging: People-Powered Metadata for the Social Web.

NOTE: RSS readers may need to click through to Blog Talk Radio to listen to the audio file.

Thanks to Twitter friends who suggested questions: @adelemcalear, @chelpixie, @conniecrosby and @digitalmaverick.

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Category: Twitter, Audio, podcasting

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I Am Going to the Par-tay!

Posted by Connie Reece on February 12, 2021 at 3:06 am

That’s right. I am officially a Par-tay girl-or I will be on Wednesday night, when I join host Jonny Goldstein for a video conversation on Jonny’s Par-tay. I’ll be appearing with Susan Reynolds to talk about the Frozen Pea Fund and how online connections can become a vibrant community.

Check out the show info and find out how you can be part of the conversation.

Mark your calendar: Wednesday, February 13, 9:00 pm EST

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Category: Conversation, Video

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