To Add To A Pool

 

Maria's in Bridgeport

Maria’s in Bridgeport

I threw myself five going away parties in two weeks, and I highly recommend it. I created a single Facebook event for all five, and invited basically everyone I know. At the start of each one I showed up by myself, unsure who, if anyone, would come meet me, and every time, people did. I never knew who would turn up so it was basically a series of delights, all lined up one after another. All in all, I saw around 40 people, including a surprise out-of-town guest, and ate a lot of good bar food. Thanks to everyone who came to see me off.

I was telling someone at my final party at Maria’s in Bridgeport that I don’t feel the anxiety I felt when I left Columbus, over long-distance friendships. When I moved to Chicago, I felt like I was starting over from scratch. Now it feels more like, instead, I’m about to add to an already bad ass pool of friends. I’ve always been pretty good at keeping in touch, but it’s easier now than it’s ever been.

I have friends I only ever interact with via text, or email, or gchat, or Facebook, or Instagram, and that’s fine. As long as your platform isn’t the actual phone, I can keep track of you — and I’ll even make special phone exceptions for some. No one is ever far away as long as there’s Skype for coffee break catching up, or Snapchat for inside jokes. Now I can even keep tabs with Fitbit — this past weekend I did a step challenge with Stef and Jaimi and we messaged each other within the app the whole time. It was nice. This weekend I’ll be doing one with my best friend from my Ohio hometown, since there’s no reason we can’t do these from different cities.

I didn’t really make many July plans, and got my going-away tour wrapped up before then. I’m just not really sure what my state of mind will be in those last 12 days. I’m doing everything I can to be as prepared as humanly possibly for my move, and the last big hurdle will be this Sunday. The Beans are helping me drive my 10 moving boxes down to Union Station that afternoon, where I will wave goodbye to half my clothes and all my kitchenwares and hope they’re reunited with me in Portland two weeks later. This is the time where I need to remind myself that stuff is just stuff, and the things with real sentimental value will be with me and Dad in the car. Plus, the Amtrak shipping experiences I’ve read about have been positive, so here goes.

One thing I did plan for July is Mamby on the Beach, a two-day EDM concert happening July 11 and 12. Despite the fact that I leave Chicago very, very early the morning of the 13th, I sprung for a weekend pass with Liz so I can finally see Passion Pit (among others). Beyond that, it’s going to be a really busy week and a half in my office as I prepare to leave and wrap up a bunch of projects. This Friday, Stef and I just blocked out the entire day to hang out together and do whatever we want. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a long weekend.

I can’t wait to be in Portland, and I am excited to get settled in. I hope some folks will come visit, and it would be nice to have at least one planned visit to look forward to. But at least I’ve got two Ohio trips, and at least one Chicago/work one, happening in this latter half of 2015.

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Writing & Twitter

Part of my job at my association is to offer social media assistance to businesses, and it’s an extremely rewarding aspect of the work I do. It did, however, mean that I had to start a Twitter account. I’d had accounts in the past, including one for my news site. I knew how to use it, and I posted to it for 60625, but try as I might, I couldn’t train myself to check it often enough to make it worthwhile as a social media tool.

But now, after three months of use, I am here to tell you that I get it now. First off, you have to allow for text or email notifications or else you’re never going to check that nonsense in the beginning. Also, don’t follow every single person/spam bot who follows you first because it will just clog up your feed.

Anyway. Don’t get me started. I now see the value of Twitter, in terms of networking, research, entertainment, and — lately — finding freelance work. I’ve been writing like crazy in recent weeks, and Twitter has a lot to do with this burst of creative productivity.

I’ve been blogging for my friends’ pop culture site, The Addison Recorder, since January. But it was pretty cool to get tweeted at by the author of a book I reviewed for that site:

Additionally, I connected with a friend’s new magazine about the Midwest and expanded on an idea I’d written on here previously about the oil and gas boom in my hometown. I saw on Twitter a call for submissions, so I pitched my idea and got it approved. I turned it in a couple weeks ago.

I later found on Twitter that a friend-of-a-friend’s web series was seeking script submissions for the next episode of their show, so I wrote something and sent it their way. I just heard yesterday that they want to produce what I wrote into an episode. It’s really exciting.

I also started following tons of live lit folks here in Chicago, and now I’m trying to get in on some of those events. Longtime readers may remember that performing at a live lit event has been on my bucket list for the last couple of years, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to finally make that happen. Meanwhile, I keep writing down ideas and outlines of essays that might be suited for that platform.

I stand before you a (years late) Twitter advocate and convert. It took a few half-hearted attempts, but I can’t go back now.

Any time, anywhere

So this happened on Twitter yesterday:

The young woman was almost certainly me, and this person’s interpretation of me being “very upset” was actually me hurling an F-bomb at a stranger on a residential street in the late afternoon. I didn’t see who did it, because he didn’t even stop to turn around when I yelled at him. He was wearing a gray T-shirt and he passed me on my left when I was walking east on Eastwood to a neighbor’s BBQ. It was around 5:30 p.m.

I saw a family outside their house a couple of houses up and asked them if they’d seen what happened. They didn’t, and by then the cyclist was out of sight. The father I asked didn’t seem concerned. I walked away.

I spent the next couple of hours at the BBQ with friends, but didn’t say anything. My friend Patty’s parents were visiting and I felt weird telling this story in front of them, and I tried to forget it. I couldn’t, so after I left the party I posted on Facebook. Tons of my friends came to my defense, as did two girlfriends I saw later that night.

Then it was pointed out to me that the Lincoln Squared Twitter account manager had most likely witnessed it, so I replied to what he wrote:

He didn’t respond, but continued to tweet about other unrelated things:

Finally, this morning, I posted this:

No response today. I’m putting a notice on EveryBlock just to warn people, in case he strikes again. I do wish the Twitter user had approached me instead of just posting an amused observation of my humiliation, but that’s his choice.

Thanks to everyone who has voiced his or her support and re-enforced the belief that this incident WAS a big deal. I fully realize it could have been much, much worse, and thank God it wasn’t. But some guy felt like it was okay to do this to me and that is such a blow, especially during this time when people are actually having serious conversations about this very issue. Despite that, this guy didn’t see the harm and that’s disconcerting to say the least.

Update: Lincoln Squared responded.

Become a fan of “The Candidate”

We’re beginning to roll out our social media strategy for the web series! Click here to become a fan of the Facebook page for The Candidate. Personal pages for Mike Mowry and John Cunningham to come soon. This week we’re filming our campaign ads for John Cunningham and Mike Mowry, aka, John and Aryeh, respectively. Aryeh’s going first tomorrow night, which will be fun because I have yet to write a word of any of these ads and I have no idea where we’re filming. It was kind of a crazy weekend and I didn’t get as much done as I had planned. I did, however, edit three more minutes of the show, chalking up our total to twelve, that’s right, twelve minutes of content edited. Too bad I have to start over. But it’s of my own volition! I’ve decided to invest in Final Cut Express, a better editing software and something like a step down from what the industry standard is. We have some lower dialogue audio that I want to be able to edit more extensively than I can in iMovie and Owen agrees I can probably make the most of the investment. I’m going to make a Quicktime file of what I’ve edited already for a visual reference and move all my video files over to Express. I just have to buy it first. That’s the hard part, since it’s $200. I can’t exactly ask Aryeh to get it because his investment would be moving to Chicago right along with me in six weeks, so this one’s on me. But it’s not like I’ll never use it again after this project and I am really excited to learn how to use it. I also think now’s the time to get a cheap mouse for my laptop because editing using a touch pad thinger is rough. Did I mention I love editing video?

Social media training nuggets

Last week I attended a social media training for work, which lasted three days. I learned a lot there, and I wanted to share the tips I found especially interesting about producing video content for the web. They key, you see, is to make something “spreadable.” No one wants to share a boring video of your company’s president rambling on about a mission statement. If you think that kind of thing’s going to go viral, you are in for some major disappointment.

One trend in online video marketing I’ve noticed, which was discussed at the training, is the use of flash mobs. I, personally, love watching flash mob videos, and it kind of annoys me when companies use them to sell crap. However, you’ve got to give them points for creativity. Take this one by Coca Cola for example:

That’s kinda cool. Another example we saw in class was the college tour video; the one Yale made for recruiting was stuffy and institutional. But the one they asked students to make? It made me think Yalies might have a pulse after all. They made it funny, wrote a clever song for it and breathed new life into a pretty lame genre.

More tips for making videos:

  • Keep it short; the average YouTube video runs about 3 minutes. If it’s under a minute, all the better. Also noteworthy: Keep your intro and your credits short because those still add seconds to your final time.
  • Delete every official person you feel must be in your video. They mustn’t.
  • Make a point; don’t make ten points! And make it fast. This isn’t like writing a term paper, you don’t have an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs and a summary.
  • Cross promote; Blog about your video, put it on Facebook and Twitter.
  • It can be simple; Animoto is a free online tool that lets you make a video out of still shots, text and royalty-free music. Bonus: There’s an app for that, and it’s free.
  • Be patient; it might take a while to spread. Not every video instantly catches like wildfire, and that’s okay.
  • Let someone else tell your story. If you don’t have the resources or ability to make the video you want, hold a contest and let the video you want come to you (See crowdspring.com below).

Other cool links we learned about (video related and other):

Quirky.com: This one’s so cool; people come up with ideas for inventions, and then people contribute to the ideas and influence them. If enough people agree to purchase the final product at a set price, the product gets made. People who influenced them get a cut of each sale. Social product development.

Crowdspring.com: Need a one-time design job, like a logo, done? Set your deadline, what you are willing to pay and pick the logo you like best. If you’re a graphic designer, check this site out for freelance opportunities.

Glassdoor.com: See what employees have to say about the companies they work for. Search salaries, reviews, etc. A must-have resource for those on the job hunt.

addict-o-matic: Find out what people are saying about health care reform, your company or any other topic.

Spokeo: This one might freak you out. Hardly any of my information’s on there, but a lot of people in my training were terrified to see what info of theirs was available. You can have it removed by clicking on “privacy” at the bottom of the page.

Delicious: “Social bookmarking”; save stuff that interests you online and share it with other users.

Diigo: Highlight, bookmark and share stuff on the web. Another organizing tool, much like…

Evernote: You can download this program as a desktop application or as an iPhone app. Use it to save ideas, things you see online, organize lists, etc. Brandon told me about this one a long time ago.

Onlinevideocontests.com: One of many online resource for finding contests. Prize money!

Manyeyes.com: Making data visually engaging, which can be a difficult feat. We loved the bubble charts this site generates. Downside: any data you upload onto this site automatically becomes public.

Wordle.net: Make a tag cloud of whatever text you copy and paste into this site, be it your top 30 tweeted-about topics or the opening paragraphs of your dissertation. Our company discussed the possibility of making one of these designs into our next magazine’s cover. They’re that awesome.

Namechk.com: See what sites you can still register your company’s user name on. I was maddened to see that there’s already a YouTube account under the name TheSleeperHit. It’s totally dormant, too. Figures.

Blogging, for blog’s sake

Sooo, I’m writing this because I’ve been doing so well about posting every weeknight for the month of April. I didn’t plan it, it just kind of happened, but now that I am on a roll, I’ve got to keep it going.

Today was the first of a three day training on social media I am completing for my job. What we learned today about Twitter and its functions was really interesting, and good information to know both personally and professionally. Also, they gave EVERYONE a freaking FLIP CAM to borrow until Saturday. That has been fun. I am probably going to buy one. Good marketing strategy, Flip Cams. Well played.

Sometime next week I’ll have to do a long post reviewing all the books I’ve been reading. Also, tomorrow I’m picking up a copy of “Save The Cat,” a screenwriting book I keep reading and hearing about. I’ve been reading a lot of non-film related books so it will be nice to get into for a change. It seems like for a while there all I was reading were film books.

Eileen and I started “Veronica Mars” season three tonight. I’m being good and not watching the next episode without her. Also, I have the internet at the apartment again, after nearly three weeks without it. I will miss the late-night coffee shop blogging trips. Still, I might continue them, considering the neighbors’ bass hinders my brain from thought capabilities at times.

Did anyone see the second episode of “30 Rock” tonight? Hysterical. That show can get away with saying whatever it wants about NBC, can’t it?

Back to my book now. This blogging thing’s not as easy as it looks, you know. Okay, I’m lying. It is.