A Sea of White Males

Posted by Mike Chapman on August 8, 2020 at 10:16 am

A major challenge for the burgeoning “netroots” movement in politics will be to make sure that there is a diversity of opinion and involvement. In a report on a recent meeting of Yearly Kos, a gathering of bloggers considered a dominant force in the left-leaning grassroots movement on the internet, it was pointed out by the Washington Post that the participants were predominantly white and male. At that same meeting, former U.S. Senator John Edwards, a candidate for President who has been very active in the blogosphere and other social media venues, and who happens to be a white male, received an overwhelming show of support from the participants. Conversely, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, obviously not a male, and also a candidate for President, did not receive as favorable a welcome. In fact, she was verbally jeered.

In fairness, the responses each received were reported to be based more on the respective candidate’s positions on the war in Iraq, and relationships with Washington lobbyists, than just on the candidate’s gender. But the article reminded me of a problem that is something many of us white male bloggers don’t think about enough. Even if the participants disagreed with the “woman” on the panel, would a more diverse audience have been so comfortable booing and hissing her? Or would a more representative group have behaved differently with a greater percentage of females participating?

I have yet to be harassed sexually, or in any other way, on a blog. The same Washington Post article reports, however, that “many women bloggers complain of sexism and harassment in the blogosphere.” Frankly, this makes my blood boil. Whoever these guys are, they should be ashamed. I’m hoping we can begin a conversation about how we address this in an effective way. If someone is stopping short of breaking the law, but is clearly harassing someone based on gender, how do we offer a way for would-be and current female bloggers to feel comfortable on line?

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Category: In the News, Blogging, Bloggers

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We Need Coworking in Austin

Posted by Mike Chapman on August 7, 2020 at 6:45 am

I’m a new evangelist for coworking in Austin. After spending time talking with my friends whurley, Kelley Burrus and Erica O’Grady about it, I’m convinced that Austin shouldn’t just be a coworking location, we should be a model for others. If you’re not familiar with the term “coworking”, check out the Coworking Community Blog. Simply defined, coworking is a movement to create cafe-like community/collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents.

I agree totally with C.C. Chapman of Crayon that working from home and the office can both get creatively stifling at times. I’ve sought out just about every coffee bar in town looking for that perfect third space where I feel just right. Every time I venture out, however, I never know exactly where I’ll be able to set up the laptop and get right to work. All too often, I end up just drinking coffee and thinking about how I might be getting more work done back in the office. If only there was a another place to go.

What some of us are talking about for Austin is a place where tecchies, writers and creatives of all stripes, could buy a membership, much like a gym where you go to exercise. Necessary technology would be built in and provided in a comfortable setting. Of course there would be a coffee bar and maybe even food. Workspaces and lockers would be available. Venture capital and government sponsorship could foster the creative genius that would gather. Relationships would develop organically and natural collaboration would be inevitable.

If you think this is a good idea for Austin, I’d love to hear from you. Many of us involved in the Social Media Club of Austin want to help see it happen right here in the creative capital of the U.S. We’d love for you to help. I’ll keep you posted on how the movement is progressing.

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Category: Social Media Club, Connections, Conversation

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MakeConnieLaugh Winner: Grand Prize

Posted by Connie Reece on August 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

Announcing the Grand Prize winner of the MakeConnieLaugh in 140 Characters or Less Contest will be the last off-topic post; we’ll resume regular blogging tomorrow. On second thought, is it really off-topic when your blog is about social networking and making connections through conversation?

The winning entry for the Grand Prize not only made me laugh, it had a special significance for me — one the writer could not possibly have known about, and one that directly pertained to the reason I was feeling blue and needed cheering up in the first place. The synchronicity really does not surprise me, though, for Jon Swanson, author of Levite Chronicles, is a man who listens with his heart.

Here’s his winning entry, and remember that it appears here in reverse chronological order.


When I dreamed up this contest, I had just been through a rough week. Then on Saturday morning, I found this post in my RSS reader. The last time I’d had a chance to sit down for a chat with John Moore, we talked about his mom’s battle with ALS. In addition to reading his blog, I’d been following John’s marvelous video scrapbook, narrated by his mom, Glenna, until she lost the ability to speak. Just take a look at this sample, where John’s dad, Al, tells about his love for Glenna.

I knew all too well what the Moore family was going through, having lost my father to a neurodegenerative disease in December 2000. He managed to maintain his sense of humor until the end, but the suffering took a huge toll on our family. As time passes, you forget the suffering and remember all the laughter. But for a few moments on Saturday morning, it all came back when I found out about Glenna Moore.

Thanks to my Twitter pals, the painful memories soon faded as person after person endeavored to make me laugh. And here’s why Jon’s Burma-Shave for the Information Highway tweets bowled me over.

burma-shave-logo.jpgMy father loved to load the family in the car and take us places. Back in those days (remember, I’m older than the average Internet maven), the occasional series of weathered Burma-Shave signs still dotted the back roads of the Hill Country. Dad would slow down so my sister and I could read them out loud.

That would distract us momentarily, but like every small child on a road trip, we would soon be asking how much longer it would be before we reached our destination. “Daddy, are we there yet?”

Daddy would always reply, “Not much farther. It’s just over that next hill.”

Those words came back to me on that final, unbearably long night when we kept a bedside vigil at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. Dad’s breathing became so labored that each breath would raise him chest-first off the bed. The nurses increased the dose of morphine to ease his pain.

At one point, when this lifelong Daddy’s Girl didn’t think she could take it any longer, I kissed his cheek and whispered, “Not much farther, Daddy. It’s just over that next hill.”

Mercifully, a couple of hours later my father slipped from this life to the next. I like to think that if there are two-lane roads in heaven, Daddy has “the pedal to the metal” on a battleship-sized Cadillac Fleetwood or Chrysler Imperial (his cars of choice), slowing down only long enough to read the angelic equivalent of Burma-Shave signs.

With more love and laughter and appreciation than you can imagine, Jon, I’m sending an autographed hardcover copy of The Age of Conversation your way.

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Category: Just for Fun, Connections, Social Networking, Twitter, Bloggers, Books

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MakeConnieLaugh Winner: First Place

Posted by Connie Reece on August 2, 2020 at 8:11 pm

I never imagined that the MakeConnieLaugh in 140 Characters or Less contest would turn out to be such a dangerous event. While I can’t award a Purple Heart, I can award a First Place prize to Tim Siedell, an advertising guru and jerky afficianado [inside joke] who was so determined to make me smile that he wound up injuring himself.

Tim Siedell / Bad BananaYou’ll have to dig deep on the Web to find a real photo of Tim; on his Bad Banana blog and Twitter he prefers to use the iconic image of one of his heroes, legendary adman David Ogilvy. A well-thumbed copy of Ogilvy on Advertising has a place of honor on one of my many bookshelves as well.

Here is the series of entries from Tim that cracked me up. Remember, these are posted in reverse chronological order, so it helps to start reading at the bottom.
Badbanana entries

Here’s a shout-out to Brenda and Ryan for adding to the fun.

A final note to Tim: I am still awarding you First Place, even though I later found out from your Web site that you also won the World’s Toughest Briefs competition. Somehow it sounds like you weren’t exactly playing fair here; nevertheless, you can still expect an autographed copy of The Age of Conversation. :-)

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Category: Just for Fun, Social Networking, Conversation, e-book, Twitter, Books

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MakeConnieLaugh: Accidental Entry Award

Posted by Connie Reece on July 31, 2020 at 10:24 am

The MakeConnieLaugh in 140 Characters or Less Contest was about more than passing along one-liners or jokes, although those did have me chuckling. The impromptu competwittion (so-called because it occurred mostly on Twitter) was about connecting with a community, about the give and take of conversation, the daily sharing of our ups and downs.

Quite often there is humor involved in our back-and-forth exchanges, so when my pal WickedStepmom twittered the lines below, it triggered a light-bulb-over-the-head moment.

Thinking I should @conniereece on every tweet in case I am accidentally funny. :)

@conniereece Which is similar to being “accidentally cool” like the hippity-hoppity Mumble in Happy Feet.

I started putting gold stars by all the tweets that made me laugh-and there were many. I will post some of them on the blog in the coming days, along with some link love for their authors.

It was tough making a final decision in this category. I read and reread the entries, and I kept coming back to this one, which caused me to burst out laughing just before the contest deadline:

WickedStepmom Nobody move!! I’ve dropped me brain!

I’m happy to report that the missing brain was, indeed, recovered the next morning by a fellow Twitpal on a visit to the doctor’s office.

BlondeByDesign @conniereece - I believe we found Wicked Stepmom’s brain. Honorary blonde day for WSM, Making arrangements for fedex return shipping. lol

So, without further ado (or with Much Ado About Nothing), let me introduce you to the winner of the Accidental Entry Award: Cathy.

In addition to being a prolific tweeter and member of the Twitter Knitters group on Crafty Nation, Cathy writes The Wicked Stepmom, a blog where she shares “a real life fairytale celebrating the trials and tribulations, joys and jubilations of life as a custodial Stepmom, Mom and Second Wife. This is my once upon a time…”

To maintain privacy, Cathy has given pseudonyms to the people who populate her real-life stories of being the wicked stepmom in her personal fairy tale.

Wicked Stepmom

Cast of Characters

Wicked Stepmom: I am a daughter and stepdaughter. I have a Mom, Dad, Stepmom, ex-Stepmom and had a Stepfather. I am a Sister and Stepsister. I have one brother and four Stepbrothers. I am a Second Wife, Mom and custodial Stepmom.

Prince Charming: Husband. Married 2001.

Cinderella: Stepdaughter. Born 1996.

Hansel: Son. Born 2002.

Gretel: Daughter. Born 2005.

Maleficent: Cinderella’s BioMom.

Cathy, thanks for Making Connie Laugh, and for sharing your life and your humor with a community of tweeters. A softcover copy of The Age of Conversation will be coming your way.

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Category: Just for Fun, Connections, Twitter, Bloggers

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MakeConnieLaugh Winner: Miss Congeniality

Posted by Connie Reece on July 30, 2020 at 9:17 pm

At every beauty pageant a contestant is chosen as Miss Congeniality, the young woman who best exemplifies the spirit of the competition. Last month my cousin Jordan Chanley won the Miss Congeniality award in the Miss New Mexico competition. I’m not proud or anything. :-)

While the MakeConnieLaugh in 140 Characters or Less Contest was not a pageant, it did motivate some very beautiful people to encourage someone in their community-me-who was feeling down.

Marti LawrenceAnd nobody, I mean nobody, got in the spirit of things more than Marti Lawrence (Twitter name: Marti_L), who is hereby crowned Miss Congeniality.

Marti had a bit of advantage, since she is a humor columnist and author of Queen Klutz, a collection of essays about her misadventures.

On her blog, Enter the Laughter, Marti says, “I write humorously about bad luck, being a klutz, cars that hate me, life, love and family. I’ve broken both ankles twice, amputated my right index finger and had it reattached. I’ve had the transmission fall out of a Dodge van while driving down the interstate. My teenage son wrecked my car, resulting in an E-Bay auction for the $2,000 French Fry, which caused the wreck. If I couldn’t write about this stuff being funny, I’d be in a rubber room.”

I have not even counted up the many one-liner entries Marti tweeted during the two-day contest, which included her birthday celebration. Here’s a sampling:

5 out of 4 people have trouble with statistics.

If you smoke after sex you’re doing it too fast.

Why is “bra” singular and “panties” plural?

“Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes.”

Dyslexia: it can warn without striking!

I’m always late. My ancestors arrived on the June Flower.

Corny? Yeah. But Marti plunged into the contest as if she were bungee jumping off the Tallahatchee Bridge. I simply could not let such exuberance go unrewarded.

So, Marti. A softcover copy of The Age of Conversation is headed your way. Many, many thanks for Making Connie Laugh!

Oh, and I’m sorry @EvilBambiOhio assaulted your husband’s car today. But I figure you’ll just turn it into another chapter in another book. :-)

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Category: Just for Fun, Connections, Twitter, Bloggers, Books

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MakeConnieLaugh Award Categories

Posted by Connie Reece on July 30, 2020 at 7:09 pm

How can I possibly thank the 32 people who sent 103 short, funny messages to brighten my weekend by entering the MakeConnieLaugh in 140 Characters or Less Competwittion?

What started out as a blue Saturday morning soon turned into one of the sunniest weekends I’ve had in a while-not because of the weather, because we are still having our daily downpours. Instead my “mourning was turned to joy” by a community of friends who hang out here and on Twitter.

I wish I could award you all a prize. (But it ain’t gonna happen, so don’t get your hopes up.)

Last night I stayed up late rereading the entries and making my decisions. Because I want to spread out the fun, I will announce the winners over the next few days. I’ll also create a page where I can share some “link love” with everyone who played along.

MakeConnieLaugh Trophy

Here are the final award categories:

Miss Congeniality Award

Accidental Entry Award

First Place Prize

Grand Prize

My next post will announce the first award, so stay tuned!

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Category: Just for Fun, Connections, Twitter, Bloggers

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MakeConnieLaugh in 140 characters or less

Posted by Connie Reece on July 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm

What do you do when you’re feeling kinda blue on a Saturday morning? Start a silly contest on Twitter — I suppose that would be a competwittion? — and extend it to your blog.

But MakeConnieLaugh is a real contest with real prizes! Here are the rules:

1. Use @conniereece to tweet your entry.

2. If you’re not on Twitter, enter by leaving a comment below. However, your entry must conform to the 140-character limit.

3. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Sunday, July 29, 2007. (I turn into a pumpkin at midnight.)

4. Twitter entries will be favorited with a gold star so I can review them later. Judging is entirely subjective; after all, the goal of the contest is to make me laugh.

5. Winning entries will be announced on Monday, July 30, 2020 via Twitter and this blog.

Age of Conversation bookNow, what will you receive if you actually Make Connie Laugh?

Grand Prize: Hardcover copy of The Age of Conversation, retail value $29.99, autographed by yours truly.

First Place: Softcover copy of The Age of Conversation, retail value $16.99, ditto on the autograph.

The Age of Conversation is a collaborative book by 103 authors, including some of the top voices in marketing and social media today. Click the book graphic for all the details about this innovative project. I’m privileged to be found in the pages of this remarkable book with a chapter called “The Two-Step of Conversational Writing.”

All MakeConnieLaugh entries will get some link love here on Every Dot Connects, as well as my appreciation for participating. My heart is already lighter after just a few entries.

So go ahead … make me laugh. :-)

Update: This contest is turning out to be so much fun that I’ll be adding a few more copies of The Age of Conversation softcover as prizes. So get those entries in by midnight tonight, Sunday, for a chance to win.

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Category: Just for Fun, Social Networking, Conversation, Twitter, Bloggers, Books

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Crafty Nation Debuts at CHA Chicago

Posted by Connie Reece on July 21, 2020 at 1:43 am

Yesterday friends Jim Long and Toni Lyn launched the beta version of Crafty Nation, a new social network for crafters, at the giant Craft & Hobby Association trade show in Chicago.

Online video is in the process of altering our television viewing habits. In a recent post Jim, a veteran videographer and self-described “new media micro mogul,” wrote that social networks are becoming the New Television. “Social networks, empowering core constituencies of passionate users around targeted, niche market content, are emerging as a powerful media marketforce.”

If you’re interested in making or finding beautiful handcrafts, or if you want to see some excellent video samples of niche market content, give CraftyNation.com a visit. Here’s a short (1:30) clip from their video blog of opening day at CHA. (I chose this one, of course, because it features a shout-out to me. What can I say? I’m shameless.)

Note: RSS readers may need to click through to the site to view video.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

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Category: Events, Connections, Social Networking, Twitter

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Eight Random Things About Me

Posted by Connie Reece on July 20, 2020 at 1:18 am

Fellow Age of Conversation co-author Greg Verdino, Chief Strategy Officer at crayon, tagged me for the current meme: Eight Random Things About Me. I’m not sure I can hold your attention for that long, but here goes . . .

1. Although I’m an SOB, I’m a lot shorter than Liz Strauss. A lot.

Mom2. My 83-year-old mother is on Facebook. I haven’t introduced her to Twitter yet, but she does use google as a verb.

3. One of my part-time jobs in college was playing piano for a dinner theater — 8 shows a week for a typical six-week run of each production. Did Fiddler on the Roof twice and never want to hear “If I Were a Rich Man” again. Ever.

4. I have a B.A. in French and used to be fluent. Sometimes I read Loic Le Meur just to see how much I can still understand. I get the gist but can no longer do complete translation. Quel dommage.Garbage Gan

5. When I worked in publishing, I once sent all my trash home with our housekeeper, who lived in a neighboring town, so the tabloids could not rummage through my garbage cans for snippets of the hush-hush book I was working on. I should explain that we initiated the long-distance trash hauling after I received an empty FedEx package; an edited copy of the manuscript was missing. (You’re not paranoid if they’re really following you.)

6. I am domestically challenged. Can’t grate cheese without losing a fingernail, and I iron wrinkles into a shirt.

7. I fear I’m way too old to be a fan of I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? … but I iz addikted to teh kittehs.

8. This final one is especially for Mike Chapman, who loves to hear me say that I am my own first cousin … and it’s true.

Now, here’s the best part: According to the official rules (official? surely they’re written down somewhere?), I get to tag 8 others to play the Eight Random Things About Me meme. So, rev your blogging engines — Chris Cree, Jim Long, Robert Hruzek, Jordan Behan, Luc Debaisieux, Carolyn Manning, Susan Reynolds and Kris Hoet.

It’s not like you’ll have 8 years of bad luck if you don’t play along with the 8 Things meme … but we’d love to learn more about you.

Update: This meme is spreading so fast that some of us are tagging each other simultaneously. Thanks to Ted Demopoulos, author of What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging & Podcasting, for also tagging me. Check out his 8 Random Things post and browse the site; Ted is a great resource for the blogging and podcasting community.

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Category: Just for Fun, Memes, Bloggers

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