Archive | September, 2010

Podcamp Pittsburgh 5

30 Sep

This post is going out mostly to my dad. I suggested he look into a podcamp in his area (Tampa Bay) and GO! He said, “Tell me about your adventure.” So, here it is. I guess I’ll start with what my understanding of podcamp is, the type of people I think might benefit from it and then just a quick synopsis of my day at podcamp, then my day telecommuting to podcamp.

OK so, Podcamp likes to call themselves an “unconference.” Podcamp PITTSBURGH is a super awesome version of what you see if you check out the generic podcamp website. Rather than go copy their definition which you could go look up yourself, I’ll just tell you what I think makes it all unconferencey. For starters, its a totally free conference on social media. There were VIP tickets available that ended up costing around $26 if I remember correctly. VIP’s are considered sponsors, they get a really nice (I assume…more on that in a second) swag bag and some other cool stuff. There were VIP-only drawings for cool social media gadgets. One time I was there for a drawing they gave away a pretty nice webcam. Now, I did not spring for the VIP ticket since I am a total NOOB. Nevertheless, I was given a nice podcamp t-shirt, pens, pads of paper, stickers and all kinds of marketing swag. There we several tables set up in the lobby where sponsors were also giving away all kinds of cool stuff, including t-shirts and samples. That totally blew me away. Then, they provided both breakfast and lunch for all attendees. WHAT?! For free?! Yes, and it was totally legit. Build-your-own deli sandwiches, chips, drinks…when the sandwich stuff ran out they ordered pizzas. Breakfast was fresh fruits and muffins. There was a coffee station that they kept up all day long for both days. I FELT like a VIP and wished I’d have purchased the VIP ticket because I felt guilt partaking of all the amenities without having spent a dime. OK, enough about that…so this conference is run by local people who are all volunteers and who are all involved in social media. The schedule was jam-packed and they even had to find a SEVENTH room to add at the last minute for additional presenters. There were five 45-minute presentations each day IN EACH ROOM, in addition to a opening and closing remarks by the organizers. Day 1 included a really cool keynote and I encourage you to check out this post about Bill Peduto’s presentation with links to some really cool YouTube videos on social media and politics. My favorite video was just a bunch of stats about social media set to emotional music…some of the stats were just mindblowing. Makes me want to go see that new movie about how Facebook came into being. A close second was Howard Roark’s soliloquy from the movie adaptation of The Fountainhead, as I am a pretty big Ayn Rand fan. Session topics ranged from as simple as “what is a blog?” to really sophisticated presentations on SEO, activism and social media, and social media strategies. And that doesn’t even touch the depth of knowledge that was presented during these 2 days. There were so many more very compelling presentations on things like video blogging, podcasting, and why we should even bother with all of it in the first place. So if that doesn’t sufficiently illustrate what an unconference is, go spend some quality time on the Podcamp Pittsburgh website, they really do a great job!

If it wasn’t clear enough in the preceding paragraph who could benefit from Podcamp, let me emphasize just say this…EVERYONE! I mean, did you watch the video I linked? And there’s even an update with more recent stats if you’re interested. There were presentations geared toward people with small businesses, and yet there were many topics that could easily apply to large corporations as well. There were topics of interest to the casual personal blogger (yoo hoo, that’s me,) and I have to agree that anyone who reads a blog or participates in social media (yes, Facebook is social media) could improve their use and enjoyment of it. Or maybe that’s just geeks like me that like to know what’s going on behind the scenes…

Saturday (the first day) I attended Podcamp in person. I was so wound up about going, that I only got about 4 hours of sleep the night before. Nonetheless I managed to stay alert all day. I attended the following sessions:

Keynote

The Keynote was fascinating to me since I had never been to a podcamp before. It gave me a much better idea of what social media means to all the people who are invested in it, and it really demonstrated the tangible community that exists around social media in Pittsburgh.

Blogging 101: What’s a Blog, Why Do I Need One and How Do I Get One, which I left to catch 10 Ways to Create Social Media that Matters

Blogging 101 was being conducted as an audience led Q & A session when I left, so I can’t comment much as to what transpired in there. I seemed to be farther along than a lot of people in there, so I walked over to 10 Ways to Create Social Media that Matters and squeezed in the back. It was standing room only and very hot & stuffy. This was one of the stand-out presentations for me. Justin discussed how he saw various social media forms being meaningful, even in their simplicity. It definitely helped me feel more confident about trying out “this blogging stuff.”

Blogging 201: Finding Fodder 52 Weeks a Year

This was a great presentation by Michelle of BurghBaby, which is a blog I read regularly. She gave some very good ways to generate content if you intend to post on a frequent schedule. She also discussed why one might want to post on a schedule, why she does it and a lot of other useful info about blogging in general. It was also nice to be able to ask her some questions about blogging about one’s children and the consequences thereof. I will be going back to the videos of this session many times I’m sure!

Friend Me? No, Friend You!-Creating Real Relationships with the Internet

This was a really fascinating presentation about creating relationships with your audience and the idea of “quality content” taking precedence over “regularly posting content.” I think about this session all the time now. It was quite a contrast to Blogging 201, and it was very interesting hearing a unique perspective on blogging and twittering and the like.

Living Out Loud-Real Life Effects of Living Online, which ended early so I caught the end of Enough Already: How to Suck Less on Twitter

It was awesome seeing the BitchBurgh ladies in person and hearing them talk about how their blog has affected their lives. BitchBurgh is another blog I read regularly now after finding it through the blogroll on That’s Church. I thought it would be really relevant to me, since I am mortally afraid of sharing my life in a public forum. Hello boundary issues, hello approval and validation issues. They did a very entertaining rundown of the evolution of their blog and how it affects their lives, their families’ lives, their relationships and so on. It was enlightening and hilarious! After that I was lucky to catch the last 20 minutes or so of Enough Already: How to Suck Less on Twitter. Since I am still trying to figure out what the point of Twitter is, this was VERY helpful. After a few sessions, I realized that EVERYONE at podcamp was on Twitter and they were all somehow finding it valuable. I on the other hand, think its crap. Buuut, I am giving it another shot as part of this whole social media experiment that I call Carly Kablooey…so I figured it would be really good to know how to suck less in doing it. Ha! I still suck…but at least I try like hell to avoid some commonly despised twittering habits. Very useful and I will be going back to the video of this session to watch it the whole thing in its entirety.

SWF Seeks…The Birth of a Blog, How I Evolved From Lurker to Creator

This was a fantastic presentation by Terra McBride of the blog Stylish White Female, who really did a great job of explaining the mechanics of how a blog evolves into something more than just a diary, and the realities of what sponsorship is like. She also had some very interesting tips about how to pursue sponsorship and also how she found her niche. All in all it was super enlightening and what I remember the most was that the whole session was really warmed by her personality and presence. I’m not into fashion much at all but I check out her blog from time to time just because she was so interesting and compelling in her presentation.

On Sunday, I stayed home and watched the live video feeds of several presentations which made it really easy to pop in and out of sessions to see what would be the most interesting to me, but it made for a lot less social interaction and obviously I didn’t meet anyone new that day. Just another unconferencey aspect of podcamp :) Anyway, here’s what I caught on Sunday:

Our ‘Burgh Story Through Blogging

Another fascinating session. This session went through the evolution of Betsy & Joe’s blog Project NEW-lyweds and how it has affected their lives. For starters, they are intriguing and inspiring people and it was also very eye-opening in terms of how much time and effort goes into writing a really good blog. After this presentation I added this blog to my blogroll and I love it!

Managing Social Media: A Presentation in Using Hootsuite to Manage Social Media Accounts, Including Scheduling and Analytics

This was a more technical presentation and probably better suited to people who actually USE Twitter. Nonetheless it helped me understand how a lot of people use Twitter and what kind of software is available to access and manipulate Twitter via my phone or the web. I think this may come in handy when and if I figure out how to effectively use Twitter to supplement my blog and Facebook.

Managing Multiple Identities in Social Media

I have to say I didn’t pay enough attention in this session and I think maybe it was a little too sophisticated for my level of expertise. It was helpful to understand how and why some people choose to maintain multiple identities within their social media strategies.

OK, so in summary…there were so many more links I could have and should have included…but guess what, it’s getting LATE and I am exhausted! Please let me know if you would like more info on anything I’ve mentioned here. If you go to the Podcamp Pittsburgh website you can watch videos of many of the sessions as well as still view the full schedule (and see which awesome sessions I missed out on.) And finally…sorry for the lack of pictures.



Only The Cool Kids Are Autotelic

24 Sep

Not what they were imagining when they coined the term autotelic...

A friend of James’s posted this wikipedia article titled “Autotelic” on Facebook yesterday. Basically its a characteristic or rather set of characteristics that occur within certain personalities, and that set is something I’ve always admired and envied. It describes people who do stuff just for the sake of doing it. Intinsic motivation. The Pie in the Sky. Originally this blog post was going to be about this great revelation that I had. As it turns out I think I’m still just a wannabe, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

All day long I pondered the concept of being autotelic and how one might cultivate such a quality in oneself. I’m pretty much of the belief that it’s not something that can be cultivated, its something that is either inborn or ingrained at a very young age. For as long as I can remember I’ve been in search of my “purpose” or something that could motivate me through passion as opposed to pragmatism. I’ve always held this self-concept that I don’t have “a high rate of performing activities for intrinsic reasons only.” I perform activities out of pragmatism. I set a goal, I list actions required to achieve said goal, and I proceed to complete listed actions.

Then all of a sudden, I had a ringing thought in my head that stopped me in my tracks. I thought, I’m not like that, I’ve never done something for fun rather than money. Um, ahem. That is the reason I am a stay-at-home-mama. I love being with Dagny and even though sometimes I spend a lot of time on the computer, and even though I am relieved when James is done with work and comes down to take over “primary parent duty,” I seriously love her to a point beyond the scope of my understanding. Non-parent types might think this is cheesy, but I’m entitled to my passions too. Parenting as a passion is wholly legitimate. So I thought to myself, holy carp! Maybe I do have it in me. I’ve got the magic in me, magic magic magic! I felt so excited and proud of myself.

Then James sent me the rest of the content, in which the term autotelic is actually an artifact of the concept of “flow.”

That’s where I read more about not just autotelic as a characteristic, but autotelic as a personality type. I most certainly do not have an autotelic personality. I have a pragmatic personality. I’ve done few things simply for the sake of enjoyment. When I set huge, life goals, I make action item lists, then I methodically check them off until the goal is achieved. The kind of goals I’m talking about here are choosing a career, making large purchases, choosing when to have a baby, and so on. So often I let my mind talk my heart out of what to do and when to do stuff. I mean, FORK…even Baby Bro is an example of it, but that’s a post for another lifetime. I just feel like if you look at the choices I’ve made, not many are of the intrinsically motivated variety. However…there are some examples and I have undoubtedly experienced flow. The lesson here is…these are things I am most proud of about myself.

I love snowboarding. I’d NEVER felt flow during any kind of athletic activity until snowboarding. That stuff puts me in the ZONE! It brings me so close to my concept of God that I can smell its breath on my neck. Huge chunky snowflakes falling in slow motion, plowing through fluffy powder until I feel as if my board might just lift from the earth and carry me to heaven. Now, I am no rockstar snowboarder chick…BUT (here is where it gets sad) I feel I totally could be. If I threw myself at it, I could be as rockstar as someone my age is capable of. I know that fact to my core. I just let my mind list a million reasons why it’s not practical to be a ski bum. It was meant for me to do…and someday if I am fortunate enough, I fully intend to pursue it as God intended me to. But for now, I can’t ignore the list…will I ever be able to? Will the list ever go away?

I’ve also felt flow while doing math. It’s so bizarre to me because, you know, I’ve always been the liberal artsy type. Then I let my mind convince me to get an engineering degree. You’ll make more money, I told myself. Well, I haven’t been sufficiently wooed by the real world of engineering to give up staying home, but it was the longest I ever stayed at a professional job and while I was studying it I most definitely sank into the glorious abyss of solving mathematical problems. I could totally shut out the world for calculus. There were these moments of incredible immersion. I loved it. The irony here is I would never have known I was capable of that had I not made the practical choice to pursue engineering over something more “fun.” And I wouldn’t get this comic either :b

Other times I’ve felt the flow…exploring new places while I was a flight attendant, playing WoW, and simply listening to music I like. That’s right, I just said playing WoW.

So I guess the point here is that I wish I was one of those people who just go in the zone every day at work…their career is their passion. They are rockstars at whatever it is they do. They don’t know why the caged bird sings because they’ve never been caged. And I suppose maybe I was right to think that in many respects, I am. Just not in the usual way.

Stinkbugeddon

22 Sep

Stinkbugs are overtaking my house. I had no less than SIX of them scurrying around my kitchen last night as I made dinner. I couldn’t get past the fear that one would fall from the ceiling and plop right into the pot on the stove. Luckily that didn’t happen. And how did I get 6 freaking stinkbugs in my kitchen? I opened the door to shoo one of them out. And it was like some kind of weird horror movie about stinkbugs. There were 4 on the storm door window. They were crawling up and down the door jambs and there was a freaking line of them along the threshold. There must have been 7 or 8 of them lined up along the threshold. I let out a little yelp. Then I slammed the door. Which is probably how 2 of the little creepers got smashed together between the door and doorjamb. I think they were having relations up there and then…BAM! I slammed the door on that nastiness. I didn’t see them until later, after they had been smooshed.

I grew up in Florida so I’m pretty familiar with the bugs. Or so I thought. I guess 10 years in glorious, bug-free Colorado brainwashed me. I forgot about the love bug orgy that happens every summer, though I haven’t seen it here yet..looks like the stinkbugs got dibs. I forgot about my mortal fear of a roach crawling across my bare as…tooshie while I take a midnight pee. Only its more like a 10 o’clock pee, 12 o’clock pee, 4 o’clock pee and a 7 o’clock pee thanks to Baby 2.0 aka Baby Bro aka GET OFF MY BLADDER.

So, hopefully this stinkbug plague will end soon because, well because they give me the creeps. And I’m afraid if I kill them they’ll stink up my house. I mean, why else would they be called stinkbugs, right? And because they FLY, gaaaaaaaaah! Why do flying bugs always go for the face!? And why do they all make that buzzy weird noise when the fly around…like in that movie Mimic. Great, why did I have to go and think about that movie. There goes a good 45 minutes of sleep time that I will have to spend convincing myself there aren’t really genetically mutated people-sized bugs building empires in the abandoned subways of New York City. God help me if there’s a cockroach plague that no one told me about.

Did I mention we also have a spider the size of GIGANTIC, in a little trap door nook thingy in the basement? James was kind enough to draw a parallel with the movie Arachnophobia as we were laying in bed trying to fall asleep the other night…

Holy Cannoli, I’m Really Doing This

19 Sep

Dear Interwebs,

I wish I knew how to quit you.  Buuuut, I don’t, so we’re going to try a new way of looking at our relationship. I’m going to try blogging. The current plan is just to explode everything out of my head and onto this blog, hence the name. I’m going to severely limit the amount of time I spend staring blankly at my Facebook newsfeed, like those little dudes in The Dark Crystal when The Crystal is sucking the life out of them. I’m going to give Twitter another shot, wince. I’m going to get stuff done, by gum! And I’m going to try to do it without using my usual potty mouth. Life with Dagny…its changed me. Hopefully you can appreciate the humor of me, all “HOLY SH…” (Brow Furrows) “HOLY Sh…” (Facial contortions…………AHA! Face) “HOLY CANNOLI!”

Goal #1: post once a week, more if the withdrawal from FB is too intense.

LET’S DO THIS!

Sincerely,

Carly

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