Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Books & Blackwell Dragon*Con party announcement

Are you ready for a second night of partying at Dragon*Con? The party suite in the Hyatt will be taken over that night by Tee Morris, Pip Ballantine & J.R. Blackwell for the Books & Blackwell party.

As the text in the image says, it's a book launch, art show and costume party! They'll be selling books and prints, and you'll be drinking. What could be more fun? See you at the event, immediately following the Parsec Awards on Saturday, August 30th, 2008.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Want the secret to social media success?

People want social media to be an easy fix. Companies look at social media as an immediate replacement for lots of other things they are doing, and they expect it to "just work" out of the box.

That's not the way the game is played, kids.

Take it from Scott Sigler, arguably one of the most popular and successful users of social media. He's used variations on a theme to break through several barriers and is still going strong. Is he making a full-time living on social media? No. Is he making a full-time living because of social media? Yes. Yes he his.

Want to copy his success? OK. But consider what it really means to "copy" him.

What I’ve found is that [working your tail off with social media] is not something that most authors [or anyone wanting to catch the social media wave] do. ... I reply to absolutely everything. Everything gets responded to; every instant message, every email, every tweet, everything. And that, combined with the social networking sites, makes such a strong connection with the readers. They really feel like someone actually took five minutes just to reply to them, and even if they only email once, it’s totally locking in fans for life.

Bingo. There's the secret. Like most, it's not complicated. It only takes commitment. Do you have it? If not, plan on falling short of the mark. Regardless of how well-planned your social media strategy may be, in the end you have to respond. To everything.

Excerpt taken from Podcasting News interview with Scott that seems to have happened some time ago, but only now has been published

I'm buying Playing for Keeps at Amazon.com today

... and you should, too. Why? Three reasons.

  1. Mur is a friend of mine, and any friend of mine is a friend of yours. Wait. Did I get that right? Regardless. Mur is good people. I enjoy her writing, spirit and passion. The world needs more Mur, and you can help by buying Playing for Keeps on Amazon.com today. As in RIGHT NOW.

  2. Helping Mur helps to validate the usage of social media. Mur doesn't have a huge publisher with gazillions of dollars of marketing behind this launch. She hasn't taken out an ad in the New York Times. And she's not spammed few million email addresses in the hopes that .2% will respond. And you know what? That's better for all of us. Buying the book today shows that you can achieve success without annoying ads.

  3. It's a damn fine book. I had the pleasure of reading this second-class superhero story in a late draft a couple of years back. I also listened to her free serialized audiobook version, too. And now, I want a print copy to put on my shelf. So buy it. And listen to it. But buy it.

  4. Bonus reason: A quote from my friend Joe -- Mur; more than just a gift to the baby Jesus.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Media Interchange Phoenix - or - Not another meetup!

For the purpose of this post, I'm breaking up you, the readers, into two categories. Now I abhor labels, so bear with me.

Group 1: Everyone who has a firm grasp on new and social media. You get not only the concepts, but you are actively engaged to the conversation. Sure, you want to learn more, but you're looking for advanced learnings and cutting-edge applications.

Group 2: Those who look at people who fit neatly in Group 1 and wonder either "Now that's really neato. How can I get involved?" or "Exactly what the hell are those people going on about all the time?".

Group 2, there is an event happening in Phoenix (Tempe, actually) on November the 1st that you must attend. It's geared toward you. It's a safe place to ask what you may think is a silly question. It's non-threatening, free of techno-babble that'll make your head spin, and an opportunity to learn the basic 101-level aspects of social and new media.

Group 1? As you might imagine, this isn't for you. Consider this a personal invitation to not attend. Consider it reverse elitism if you wish, but let's face it -- we can be a little intimidating for the noob. I figure the fewer of us are here, the better.

So back to Group 2: all those who want to learn about social and new media. The event is the New Media Interchange Phoenix meeting. It's actually the first ever meeting happening in Phoenix (though there was one in Sedona a few weeks back). Started by my good friend Douglas E. Welch in southern California, the New Media Interchange is... well, I'll just let Douglas explain:

I want to bring together New Media Tech folks like Flash animators, podcasters, videobloggers,etc together with creative and entertainment types like writers, actors and directors so that we can share information on producing New Media.

While there is a social element to all meetups, I want to focus on the Interchange of ideas and sharing real world, useful information that we each need to know. I imagine a “5-minute meeting” where you can ask a pressing question and provide a great resource (web site, book, person, etc) to share with the group. Then we can break up and discuss whatever we wish.

Time has yet to be decided. I am planning on holding this meeting as one of the unstructured break-out sessions during PodCampAZ

So that makes it even better: Hit the NMI meeting, then if you are so inclined, hang out the rest of the day at Podcamp AZ to learn even more. Since I have some influence on the schedule of Podcamp AZ, I'm going to work to get this as one of the very first sessions of the day, giving you a good taste of information in the event that you do want to visit some other things. Both Podcamp AZ and the NMI-P meeting will be totally free of charge. And while everyone at Podcamp AZ will be doing their best to make their talks "accessible" to all levels, we're going to make sure that the NMI-P meeting is totally accessible, friendly, non-threatening and all the other things I said above.

Wanna learn more? Start by telling us that you are coming (we use Upcoming to figure out what size of room we'll need. You'll want a free account for future use, so go ahead and register. Consider this a homework assignment.).

But back to the Group 1 folks for a minute: you can help. Tell all of the folks you know who might be interested that we're doing this. No, they won't have to hear you try and explain Twitter for the upteenth time. In fact, we won't have any "agenda" to speak of. There won't be a strict curriculum we're following -- that depends on the audience and how the conversation goes. No, we won't make everyone stand up and talk about what a noob they are. So no, YOU won't have fun... but maybe someone you know would?

And if it goes well, I'm committed to having recurring meetings much like Douglas does. No way we can get EVERYONE here on this one day, right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Are podcasters legitimate press? Obama campaign says so

Now here's the coolest thing I've read all day:

Obama came to Albuquerque to do a town hall meeting yesterday and on a whim I wrote an email asking if a podcaster would be considered press. They didn't even blink. They just issued me a press pass and I had all the same access as any of the 'big media'. The town hall was at a high school and the Obama camp was even cool enough to give the kids from the school paper a spot on the media riser in between CNN and Fox News.

Score one for EVERYBODY! Thanks, misspeter, for sharing the story on the Yahoo! Podcasters mailing list so I could share it here.

Video of zombies attacking Jonathan Coulton

Props to Hellziggy for capturing this amazing video of the zombie attack on Jonathan Coulton during the Coverville 500 show at the New Media Expo.

For those unfamiliar with the song, I recommend watching the whole thing. For those who know it and just want to get to the "good parts", the hi-larity ensues at around 5:45. I swear any resemblances between me and the zombie ringleader is purely coincidental.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pimps & Hoes II: The Wrath of Bone announcement

Speaking of Dragon*Con... I'm going against my better judgment and sub-letting the Podiobooks.com Party Suite to Scott Sigler one night. Yeah, there's going to be a huge mess to clean up.

Some come on out, Junkies and drink some beer on me. No, not literally on me, you miscreants. But I'm buying. Which is something else I'm probably going to regret doing. You people will probably drink all the kegs and booze Friday night, short-changing Tee and Pip for their second evening.

Gods, but how I'm going to regret this decision.

More information on the party at Sigler's site.

Post New Media Expo thoughts

I've just returned from the 4th annual "Podcast Expo", though it's official title is the New Media Expo. It's changed names each and every year including this one. But to many of us, it's still and always will be the Podcast Expo. It's not so much that we're traditionalists, it's that we're easily confused.

This was the fourth year I was an attendee, but the first time I wasn't speaking at the event. It was also the first time the show was in Vegas. The running question "So... what do you think of the Expo this year?" Guess at least some of you value my opinion. ;)

Let me start by saying that I am not the target audience for an NME attendee. Now you may think that sounds strange, but it's true. Tim and Emil have made it quite clear that their conference is geared towards the business side of podcasting. They've said that for years now, but it seemed really true at this event. And that's OK. It's not like they pulled any sort of bait-and-switch here. It was all above board.

So for the record: I had a great time at the Expo. Saw lots of old friends, met plenty of new ones, generally got to hang with my peeps and freak out Jonathan Coulton (see image). So for that, the sole reason I went there, I'd call the show a success.

But things were different. First of all, there were some noticeable high-profile folks missing from the show. Off the top of my head, here's who didn't show:

There's lots of speculation as to why those (and others) were missing. The economy, location and the focus on "business" were all cited. I bet it's a combo of those and others, and likely not one thing. But what I do know is that the vibe was different, most of all in the community-feel. Don't get me wrong, I was able to connect with my community with relative ease. But still, it wasn't as strong as in years past.

The thing I missed the most? The parties. Neither Libsyn or Blubrry had parties this year. I heard a rumor that the cost was nearing $10K for a party, so I can't blame either if that was the case. But the after-hours and non-sanctioned events were always great places to bond, see people and be seen. We didn't have that this time. Sure there were a few things scheduled, but by all reports they just weren't the same.

So will I go back? Probably. As I said before, I had a great time. And hopefully more folks (vendors and attendees) will show up next year to make it even better. In the meantime, I look forward to connecting more with folks at Dragon*Con in less than 2 weeks, and Podcamp AZ in November. For those that can't make either, I highly suggest finding a Podcamp in your area. Don't have one? Make one. That seems to be the place where the community can flourish.

Here's some "live" fun from the Expo floor:

Images from Elsie & Sheila Dee

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meet me at the NME

This will be my fourth year attending the frequently-rebranded New Media Expo (starts tomorrow!). And this time, I have no agenda. That's right. I'm not speaking, performing, dancing, or generally following any sort of timeline. Sheila and I are there to hang out, have fun and meet the peeps we meet there every year -- and hopefully a whole lot more.

If you're going, I hope to see you there. If you'd like, check out the recently updated Contact page to find out ways to reach me. My phone number is now on that page, and you are free to call me and say "hey, let's meet!" Also, if you know of any killer parties that MUST be attended, let me know. Sheila makes good eye candy, and promise not to drink all your beer.

Video from my "Big Time" talk from Ignite Phoenix now aviailable

Last night we pulled off the first Ignite Phoenix series of presentations. My honest opinion? Outstanding. Your city needs an event like this, and Phoenix needs to do another one.Kudos to Jeff and Roger for pulling it together. And for twisting my arm to talk.

My presentation on "Big Time" won't be terribly new for those of you who've been listening to my CultCast for years. It was the second and third topic I covered. But this time, I got to do it with slides and had to compress it down to five minutes exactly.

I did it, and you can now see that video on line. (I start around 11:00 in.) I screwed up when talking about humanity's time on the planet (50K, not 50MM years as I said) 'cuz I didn't put a cue on my final preso (Note to self: Double check next time), and halfway screwed up the century slide (started out talking about decade -- duh). Oh, and I walked around WAY too much, driving Clintus batshit crazy on the camera and making it tough to fit me and my slides in at the same time.

I may go back and record myself doing the talk "live" to create a screen cast. Quite a few people in the crowd said that they enjoyed the talk and would like a copy. So for now, suffice with the link above. When I get back from the NME, I'll see if I can find the time to do the other.

And as I told the folks who asked, I have two other "Big" talks I can give -- one on big numbers (like the real difference between a million and a billion) and one on big distances (think astronomically) that also might be fun to develop. I'll start working on those (eventually) and then see if I can figure out how to do small next. Could be fun. Here's to hoping there's another Ignite Phoenix where I might present those next!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Evo's Dragon*Con Schedule

Just heard from the programming track at Dragon*Con. I was sorta hoping to avoid speaking on panels, but that's just because I can be a cantankerous bastard on occasion. Looking over what they've got me doing, I'm pretty pleased.

    Fri 01:00 pm - Podcasting Kick Off featuring the Brobdingnagian Bards
    Come celebrate the third year of Podcasting: Now and Beyond at Dragon*Con. Catch up with some of your favorite podcasters, and kick up your kilt to the tunes of the Brobdingnagian Bards.

    Fri 04:00 pm - Podcasting for Promotion
    Podcasting has become a powerful tool to promote just about anything. Come learn about the different ways to promote your book, your music, your event or even yourself through the power of podcasting.

    Mon 11:30 am - Podcasting Into the Future
    Description: Where is podcasting going, where is it taking us? A look at the possible future of podcasting and how we can make sure to not be left behind. Look at the new technology and upcoming innovations.

    Mon 01:00 pm - Talk Back to the Podcasters!
    Description: Are you a rabid fan of podcasting or even a certain podcaster? Come go all "fan boy" on the podcasters. No question is off limits.

That leaves me wide open to run the PARTY SUITE Friday and Saturday night. I wish I could tell you what room it's in... but I can't. Big room at the Hyatt is all I know. Find any podcaster and ask, or travel over to where all the podcasting sessions are being held and ask someone there. We'll put the word out as much as possible.

Oh, and if you see George Hrab at the event, go up to him and say "Vibraslap". Then come tell me you did it. Hilarity!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm speaking at Ignite Phoenix August 12th

If you're interested in some fun and eclectic talk, join me at Jobing.com at 6:00 PM on August the 12th. I'm kicking off the presenters at the first ever Ignite Phoenix event that evening. Speakers only have 5 minutes on stage, so even if something sounds terribly boring to you -- relax! Or take a potty break.

Here's the line-up of speakers for Tuesday evening:

First Act
  1. Big Time Evo Terra
  2. Peanut Butter Jelly Time! April Holle
  3. RadiatePhx: Why having a vital downtown matters Claudia Bullmore
  4. Running A Successful Coffee Establishment Austin Baker
  5. O.B.G.I.T.R. Steven Shaffer
  6. Do Social Networks merely help us build bigger silos? Steve Swedler
  7. Get in Shape David Koontz
  8. Storycasting Jeff Reid
  9. Play with yourself (musically) and break through to the next level Sean Tierney

Second Act
  1. Circ Jerk: Fear and Loathing in the Stacks Daniel Messer
  2. 10 Green Biz Ideas For PHX Entrepreneurs! Tomas J Carrillo
  3. Firewalking - Myth or Mastery? Vincent Kellsey
  4. LIT 140: the public side of sharing a personal passion Ms. Heather Lynne Herr
  5. Commerce: assistance for success Tiffany Frechette
  6. Is living outside the United States right for you? Kevin Patterson
  7. OCD: We Put the "Order" in Disorder M. Bahle
  8. Pinhole Portrait Photography Sheila Bocchine

Be sure and RSVP to the event if you are going to come. It'll be a hoot!

Helping out with The Social Media Bible

A few months ago I was introduced to Lon Safko at a local Phoenix event. The details are fuzzy, but through a series of mutual acquaintances, it was decided that Lon and I needed to get together. He was (and still is) busy compiling data and gathering "experts" for The Social Media Bible, due out in 2009 from my friends at John Wiley & Sons.

Why me? Partly because I'm the co-author of Podcasting for Dummies. Partly because I'm local to Phoenix. Seemed a good match. So I offered to lend my assistance to the podcasting chapter.

The Social Media Bible looks to be a pretty serious undertaking, and I'm looking forward to seeing it in print. Lon is no dummy and is squarely aiming his book to the business community with little or no understanding of what social and new media is -- let alone how they might use it. I applaud him for his approach of saying "hey, I'm not the expert, but let me tell you about [insert social/new media buzzword] from a person who is and expert at that".

He recorded an interview with me detailing some suggestions I'd give to the new person considering starting a podcast. It'll be transcribed and eventually find it's way into the book, but for now, take a listen -- with the understanding of the audience for which it was designed. Oh, and the site isn't even close to being prettied up and fully fleshed out. Consider this a "sneak preview", if you will.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Headphones needed for community podcast studio.

The gangplank community podcasting studio is almost complete. We've recorded three shows (no, they aren't available yet) to test the waters, but there is one crucial piece missing:


Right now, the studio is set up to record four people, one of them being the engineer. And right now, only the engineer can monitor themselves when recording. That may not sound like a big deal, but remember that this is a COMMUNITY podcast studio. We often times have more people in the room than are in the recording session. Having each participant wear headphones allows them to focus on the RECORDED conversation and tune out the things around them.

So my fellow podcasters... care to help out a good cause? We need three sets of headphones. I'm sure that many of you have upgraded in recent years to better fitting, feeling, and sounding 'phones. Assuming you didn't trash your old ones, would you mind sending them our way? We don't need anything fancy and I don't expect anyone to rush out and drop $75 on some new ones. Though I'm not stopping those that do.

If you want to help, leave a comment below and make sure you enter your valid email address. It won't show up on the site (no spam). This way everyone can see when we've found three pairs and won't send me a dozen or so that won't get used. :)

Thanks in advance for your help. Now to go find a cheap four-channel headphone amp. :)