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….and 100 Blog Posts Later

Posted by scottstead on Aug 21, 2008 in Blogging, DC Social Media, Documentary, Life, Misc. Links, Partay

action!

I started making websites back in the late 90′s. My first major site was Scott’s Ska Haven. I catalogued every band, every fan site, every related piece of content to the music that I loved, that I played in a band called Tanzlokal and later Skacrates (my screen name at the time). It got a lot of traffic as far as ska sites went (at the height of the Mighyt Mighty Bosstones and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies Craze). In college I developed flash sites and diddled with java. And then I dropped it all as my TV life got larger and my web life got smaller.

At the pinnacle of my TV career – as previously mentioned in my post “10th Year Televersary” – I got roped back in by Jonny Goldstein and Andy Carvin via DC Media Makers after my interest was piqued during coverage of the 2006 Midterm Elections when we had bloggers from all over converge on Washington, D.C. at Cafe Tryst in Adams Morgan to join us in covering the event. What’s happened since then? A lot…

Jonny’s Partay
Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I joined Jonny Goldstein in his fight for the rights of puppies and children with Jonny’s Partay, a weekly web show (that has been hosted on a variety of services from Operator11.com, to Blog.tv, to UStream.com, and finally rested at Mogulus.com) showcasing social media types, marketing types, bloggers, vloggers, comic strip writers, life coaches, venture capitalists, a professional trampoline coach, cancer survivors and fighters, mobile (i.e. Jeff Hibbard from his truck) life casters, and a slew of others. The show was about making connections. The most incredible aspect of the show was (for example) having someone trying to start a business, and then having someone who might be a competitor of sorts in the chat throwing out suggestions to them on how to succeed, how to implement their idea, how to move forward. The spirit of the Partay, of the Partay-cipants, and the guests is just a testament to what Jonny Goldstein is really all about. He is a connector and I’m glad that I was able to connect with him and all of the people that came with him and the Partay. And now he’s moving on to Philly and we’ll just have to see what the future holds in the Post Partay Era.

Videoblogging
I really, really like making videos. What I’ve learned over the past year:

  • Videos of John McCain and or Barack Obama related stuff are really popular
  • I really like interviewing people at events. I had great fun at SXSW and the Pullver and Lijit Breakfasts.
  • Random videos of ET toys at 1am get a suprising number of hits on youtube.
  • Cell phone videos are good for “some” things – but generally suck otherwise. It’s nice to have for on the fly, but if you can carry another camera.
  • Interviews with Scoble, GaryVee, or Steve Garfield are always good for a few hundred views.
  • File under random again: people have a strange fascination with Codzilla in Boston.
  • All in all – if I could find a job somewhere making video for the web, be it for an organization, making show based content, or just going to conferences and interviewing people – I think I’d be happy. Thanks to all of you for some seven thousand views of the good, the beautiful, the bad, and the ugly stuff I’ve put up on this thing.

    Documentary Club
    This is my first attempt at building an online community. Thanks to Doc Pop for spurring this idea along with a simple blog post. I’m really enjoying the conversation that we’ve all started over there; it’s just really nice to watch content that stirs up intelligent conversation. It’s far more motivating than my usual, “So did you see what happened on that rerun of Charmed today?”

    Twitter
    I’m approaching 1000 followers. I will probably break it this month. Does this mean anything? Probably not. I like to think that if I have something important to say more people hear it. I like to think that in me following approximately the same amount of people (and I shockingly in one way or another have directly conversed with most of them) I am opening myself up to more conversations and dialogues, interesting links, different perspectives, and a pool of information that I would otherwise be missing (cause lord knows I don’t check my Google reader enough). I’ve forged some really great friendships with folks on there and I’m glad to have been sucked in. If you plan on going to a conference anytime soon make sure you stop on over to the TwitterWhore store and get your tee with your @yourtwitternamehere on it – so I can identify you. Seriously, a lot of you DO NOT look like your avatars (especially after the whole Manga incident of 2008).

    Reviews/Beta Testing
    I wrote my first review of something that I’ve beta tested recently (see “Chi.mp“. I really liked doing it. I beta test a lot of stuff. I really like writing. This just makes sense. If you’d like to me to test something for you. I will. I will be honest. Real honest. Hopefully I like your stuff. If it’s awesome I will. Nuff’ said.

    Rapping/Nerdcore
    I have had a lot of fun with this. Thanks Doc Pop again for fueling it. All the pistons of my creative engine are revving when I’m rapping. I have now done two. The Ze Frank Color Wars rap and the RZA Wuchess Rap Challenge. Hopefully there will be more in my future. Hopefully you like it.

    Activism
    I add this as the last installment to this already ridiculously long 100th post. I went to a Jesuit college. We protested a lot. We had causes. I haven’t had a real “cause” since college. I talk about things that I like and dislike, but I’d like to be more vocal about them going forward. I really enjoyed covering the SEIU McCain Protest in Virginia. I’m enjoying helping out Jason Barnett and The UpTake with their efforts in helping to bolster citizen journalism. And lately this whole Brian Conley and the Baghdad Brian 6 incident in Beijing has made me think a lot about all of the people that are using social media to fight the good fight. We all blog because we can, because we have free speech. And I’m not suggesting that we have to use it to fight for Free Speech around the world, or that we need to get arrested to prove a point – but I assume saying that we need to use it. There is a lot of stuff going on out there that doesn’t make it into the living rooms of Americans because the networks are too busy reporting fluff and regurgitating AP wires. It’s our job to use this platform, our blogs, and our voices to make sure that the ‘important’ stories still get told. That’s why I’ve gone out of my way to try and help our friends in Beijing. I hope that we all realize the amount of power and potential that we hold with these tools and these freedoms. Every bit of attention that we can bring to their situation will help get them out of detention and back to the states. If you care about human rights and free expression please Digg this article. *Steps off of soap box.*

    Thank you for putting up with that rant. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for being a part of my community. Thank you for watching my videos. Thank you times a hundred.

    Cheers,
    Scott

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    5

    Help Free Brian Conley, James Powderly and Others

    Posted by scottstead on Aug 20, 2008 in Bloggers, Film, Misc. Links, Twitter

    UPDATE August 21: Free the Beijing 6 [from FreeTibet2008.org]
    BREAKING NEWS – August 21 – 11PM Beijing: Six foreigners given 10 days’ detention by Beijing Police.

    BEIJING (AFP) — Beijing police said Thursday it had handed out 10-day detention terms to six foreigners believed by an overseas activist group to be pro-Tibet campaigners involved in Olympic protests this week.
    SFT’s Statement on the Sentencing
    These individuals were in Beijing to amplify Tibetan voices calling for freedom and human rights and the right of all people to freedom of expression. They are no more guilty of a crime than Tibetans or Chinese who speak out for justice and for the Chinese authorities to sentence them at all shows the government’s paranoia and intolerance of even the most peaceful challenges to its control. (continues below…)
    SFT WILL FIGHT THIS UNTIL THEY ARE HOME – MORE HERE SOON ON WHAT YOU CAN DO: Remember why they went, and keep in mind – Americans get 10 days jail, Chinese grannies get one year forced labor, and Tibetans get shot.


    free the baghdadbrian5

    I’ve met a lot of great people via Jonny’s Partay. I’ve met folks that are using social media not just as a tool to further their career, launch their startup, become a superstar overnight, or let us know what they’ve had for lunch; but, people who are using technology to exact social change via the mediums. To perfect examples of this are Brian Conley, award winning videographer and creator of AliveInBaghdad.org, and James Powderly one of the minds behind Graffiti Research Labs, a group that exercises free expression using technology and art with the world that we live in as their medium. Brian Conley is a former guest of Jonny’s Partay and an all around great guy, videographer, citizen of the world, filmmaker, educator and peace fighter – he stopped in DC for a tweetup earlier this year to meet and greet some folks at a bar near Capitol Hill. James Powderly is a personal friend of Jonny Goldstein and fellow Alums from the interactive technology program at NYU. These guys were in China reporting on the struggle for Tibetan independence, covering news that the networks were all too busy to cover because its apparently more important to keep track of how many Gold medals the Chinese have won than the freedom of a people. And while we were sleeping…

    Right now those Olympic rings are looking a lot like handcuffs. Brian Conley, his friend Jefferey Rae, James Powderly and others were arrested and are currently being detained in a Chinese prison in Beijing. Details started pouring in around 1am this morning via twitter after a post on FreeTibet2008.org surfaced. It was all abuzz on twitter with folks like NBC’s @NewMediaJim and NPR’s @ACarvin scouring for details to compile as much information as possible about the incident. At this point the best that we all can do is to get this as much press coverage as possible to demand and ensure their safe return. Please Digg this article about their arrest and subsequent detention to help free our friends.

    Below you’ll find a few posts I’ve collected from around the world wide web showcasing the developments (or the lack of them – we just know that they’ve been detained at this point) in this story. The real question again – is why isn’t this being covered in the main stream press aside from the NY Times? Where are the networks? If these were mass media journalists it’s a sure bet that this would be national news. Again – has the line been drawn between professional journalist and citizen journalist? These are American citizens, friends, and generally great people fighting for something bigger than themselves. So please – Digg the story above and help free the BaghdadBrian6.

    Found Articles:
    NYTimes
    BoingBoing
    MobLogicTV
    NewTeeVee
    BlipTV
    TakePart
    ReadOrAlive
    ReadWriteWeb
    ChrisBrogan
    Beet.tv
    FoxNews.com

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    DocumentaryClub.org

    Posted by scottstead on Jul 28, 2008 in Bloggers, Documentary, Film, Misc. Links, Movies

    come join us

    Doctor Popular pointed out to me one day that a blog post he had written showed up on the front page of IMDB (The Internet Movie Database). I had mentioned that I had a film club in college and had been, in fact, dying to start a film club here in DC. Previously I had been watching films with a pal of mine in the basement of a bar on Capitol Hill during his late-night-dead-shifts. I threw out the possibility of throwing up a Ning site. And the rest is history. Documentary club was born! About 25 minutes later we were talking layouts, films, how to snag members…and speaking of snag.


    snagfilms.com

    In the process I came across a great site called Snag Films. These folks have, for your viewing pleasure, a number of great documentaries free, viewable, streamable, and even cooler – embeddable. So you want to throw up SuperSize Me on your site because you think it’s cool and you wanna’ share it with your friends. Yep, you can do it now.

    So, we’re pretty excited. We’ve got about twenty-five members now and a list of 5 films to choose from for our first two films for the month of August. On tap for the first month is a very likely candidate “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” of which we have the directors of the film John Heyn and Jeff Krulik on board to participate in the conversation.

    I’m really excited about this on so many levels. We’ve been contacting the makers of other films in hopes of getting them on board as well – and so far they’ve been really receptive. The documentary community, much like social media really seems to be, by nature, very open and cooperative. I love the entertainment aspect combined with the educational aspect – and now to throw in the community aspect, just seems to bring it full circle. What were documentaries made for if not to be discussed! Come, joinus! Voting for the August films ends August 1st. Hope to see you there!

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    The Long Ride Home

    Posted by scottstead on Jul 5, 2008 in Misc. Links, Travel, Vlog

    And so our trip is in its final hours as we have begun our journey home. It is overcast and chilly, a nice break from the humidity of days prior. Everything looks very green from the windows of the train, a layer of fog laying over the backdrop of hills. We cut the mist as we charge back to the district. A small spider hitches a ride on the window sill. Poor fella's going the wrong way. Wondering if maybe we are too.

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    Scoblechuk 08 Interviews: Part 2

    Posted by scottstead on Jun 26, 2008 in Bloggers, DC Social Media, Misc. Links, Partay, Vlog
    The interviews continue with Chris Parandian of www.MobileDiner.com and Technosailor of Technosailor.com. I think he’s dropped the “Aaron Brazell” all together at this point. Regardless, they recap the evening and get to the root of what DC Social Media needs to go to the next level – more face time.  Check it out!

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    Scoblechuk 08 Interview

    Posted by scottstead on Jun 25, 2008 in Bloggers, DC Social Media, Misc. Links, Partay, Vlog
    Jonny and I interviewed Robert Scoble, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Andrew Feinberg at this DC throwdown at a swanky lil’ join in NW Washington.  Ties were loosened as we learned about Scoble’s previous experiences in the ice cream business and Gary’s hatred for the Redskins. A big thanks to Andrew Feinberg and Nick O’Neill for making this happen.

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    Adventures in Entrepreneurship: Twitterwhore.com

    Posted by scottstead on Jun 24, 2008 in Bloggers, Misc. Links, Twitter

    Twitterwhore.com

    About a year ago someone dropped the phrase Twitterwhore on Twitter. I thought it was catchy. I liked it. I bought the domain. A week or so ago the infamous Lisa Nova dropped a video on YouTube called Twitter Whore. It’s pretty fun. I had discussed with Andrew Wright, Shana Glickfield, and Chris Pirandian one night over drinks the necessity for t-shirts that were easily customizable so that you could get put your @twittername on the front and “Follow Me” on the back for the sake of conferences, tweet-ups and conversation starts. With these things all bouncing around in my head – I realized I had the domain, I searched for a t-shirt provider that had the customization via the web that I needed to make it a reality, and I learned a little CSS in the process. The end result? T-shirts you can customize, buy, and wear to spread your addiction, share your twitter user name, and let people know where you’re @. Check them out and select one below or head over to the Twitterwhore store at Zazzle.

    In association with Zazzle.com
    AA Conference Tee

    Unisex Conference Tee, American Apparel, Sweatshop Free, 100% Made in the USA, comes in several colors and sizes. Customizable username on front, “Follow Me” on the back.

    In association with Zazzle.com
    AA Ladies Organic Fitted Conference Tee

    Ladies Organic Fitted Conference Tee, American Apparel, Sweatshop Free, 100% Made in the USA, comes in several sizes. Customizable username on front, “Follow Me” on the back.

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    @ComcastCares: Now I’m a Believer

    Posted by scottstead on Jun 22, 2008 in Blogging, Misc. Links

    As most of you probably know I produce a live internet talk show with Jonny Goldstein every Wednesday at 9pm. Jonny’s Partay. As anyone who has ever done live streaming knows, the success of your show depends on a lot of different factors; your camera, audio, and pc are all your responsibility. You are at the every whim of the internet gods when it comes to two things: your streaming service provider and your internet service provider. We’ve dealt with both – the real beast being the ISP. If Mogulus is down, which it has rarely been – there are always the old handy backups (i.e. Ustream, BlogTV, Operator11, etc.). On the flipside if Comcast is down – you have to change locations, find another way to get online, or FAIL. A huge thanks to Jill Foster and her man Sean for allowing us to use her place last week for the Frank Gruber/ Tech Cocktail episode of Jonny’s Partay. Which brings me to the purpose of the post…

    Comcast Crashes
    Jill Foster’s appearance on the Partay was compromised due to an uncertain internet connection that would only days later be pinpointed to an RF level issue after some investigation. With much frustration, having dealt with Comcast on the phone before, I made the dreaded call. For the sake of it, and after hearing many good things about his efforts from the likes of Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and Dave Winer, I made it a point to check out the touted @ComcastCares account on twitter.

    Within an hour, Frank Eliason, the man behind the twitter account, had an answer for me. In the meantime, Comcast’s phone service personell had given me the old we can have someone out in a day or two in certain 5 hour windows. Frank, however, had managed to dig in, checked not only my box but cable boxes in my neighborhood and ascertained that it was in fact a broader issue.

    With that – the issue was escalated and within 48 hours my Comcast connection was repaired along with those of my entire neighborhood.

    Comcast Cares
    I am one of many that have benefited from the seeming single-handed efforts of Frank at Comcast. A Google search for “@comcastcares twitter” reveals a number of links to now-believers-like-myself:
    Marketing Nirvana, Conversation Agent, BKM Blog, A Wider Net, and Tech Crunch have all blogged similar success stories related to this unorthodox (but much appreciated) behavior from a company who in the past may not have had the best relationship with their customers.

    So the questions remain – is Twitter valuable as a service agent for other companies? Is this an important step for companies like Comcast to take – is it a PR stunt – or is it simply the workings of one over-achieving-geek within the company that gives the company a better name and ends up convincing people like me that Comcast really does care? Regardless of the big picture and all the arguments of “how many people does the availability of this service on Twitter really affect.” One guy made a difference. Thanks Frank – now I’m a believer.

    Update
    In typical @Comcastcares fashion Frank responded to this post with the answer to my previous question.

    Thanks again and best of luck to Comcast , your staff, and the many new channels and tools you’re using to improve Comcast’s image as well as your customers overall Comcast experience.

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    The $2 LED Camera Light for Video and Photos

    Posted by scottstead on Jun 6, 2008 in DIY, Gadgets, How To, Misc. Links
    $2 cam light
    photo courtesy instructables.com

    I was thinking the other day that it would be great if I had some sort of small lighting device that I could use with my Casio Exilim for those bar-back-room interviews I like doing so much. You’ve seen them – great interview, decent audio – but man the lighting is begging for improvement. What do you expect from a tiny point and shoot. Apparently a lot. Nobody likes a grainy interview. So I thought about it, and requirements are as follows.

    1. Hands Free
    2. Small
    3. Runs on rechargable batteries
    4. Doesn’t eat those batteries quickly
    5. Bright
    6. Cheap

    Sounds simple enough, right? Well apparently it is. I found this cool little how-to on how to build your own under-camera light for somewhere around $2. That I can spare. As to the hands free – it screws onto the mount on the bottom of the camera. I’ll let you know how it goes as this sounds like a great weekend project. Let me know if you end up building one too!

    Cheers!

    The $2 LED Camera Light for Video and Photos – Instructables – DIY, How To, tech, photography – Entry

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    Plurk vs Frogger

    Posted by scottstead on Jun 5, 2008 in Gadgets, Misc. Links
    plurk vs frogger
    shenanigans

    So how much time could they really have spent on this? Robert Scoble says: “Plurk is too weird to get Twitter sized audiences. Maybe of 14-year-old girls who like Neopets.” And I agree – to a point. The demographic they were really going after – not necessarily 14 year old girls. Yep, they were targeting YOU Rober Scoble. Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George is frogger obsessed, where he tries to move the Frogger arcade game with an extension cord across the street but ends up losing his high score anyway? We all feel his pain. We know you’re trying to play up to the geeks love of crappy video game graphics. I can only suggest that your next attempt you make it look like either a) DigDug or b)Bubble Bobble. Frogger’s just a cheap shot at my emotions. I declare shenanigans.

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