Friday, June 24, 2011

Atlanta Social Media Party Links BASHH And Digital Atlanta Meetup

This blogger went out to what was expected to be a small gathering of bloggers at 5 Seasons Westside Brewery, but was a first-time gathering of two digital and social media groups: BASHH, for "Big Ass Social Happy Hour" and the "Digital Atlanta" Meetup. In fact it was a total dive-in and swim experience, where I met a lot of great people, some who I interviewed for the video.

Some brief highlights:

The first person I met was John Peltier, one of the organizers of what he and colleague Anna Gonzalez (who I also interviewed at length) said was a continuation of the BASHH party at SXSW (That's "South-By-South-West," the giant music and tech confab held annually in Austin, Texas.) John says the idea is to have a party that presents a non-threatening place for people curious about blogs and social media to come and find out more about both by meeting people already involved in it. In other words, another excuse to have good drinks, good conversation, and good humor.

Met a lot of great bloggers, for example Cecilia Dominic runs the Atlanta wine blog Random Oenophile , where she highlights "reviews of restaurants and wineries," and from our conversation, has a lot of fun doing it, with some help from her husband Jason. A fun couple to hang with.

Victoria Ellis is a smart, sexy, man-eating riot, who's blog VISHous Life is a diary of dates past and recent, good and bad. Ms. Ellis and her friend Elwyn Lopez left me laughing up a storm, as you will see in the video. Is winding up a subject in Vish's blog's a good thing or a bad thing? Whatever the answer, she's got great material for a TV show, already.

Grace, a junior at Georgia Tech, smartly started a Twitter account that spots deals for Atlanta sports events. Want to know what specials the Atlanta Braves have? You're better off following @ATLSportsDeals than visiting the team's own website.

Nick Valencia is a CNN assignment editor, who describes himself as an "all-round jack of all trades" which is a redundancy, but whatever. Nick's project at CNN is Mexico's drug war, where his collection of blogs and podcasts really constructs and excellent and frankly, very human picture of a problem that's all too often painted in black and white. Take a search look here: LINK.

Terry Coniglio is the Social Media Coordinator at Georgia State University and handles all such activities for the college. That and I observed that she's got a good eye for decent food!

Anna's the ring-leader of the thing - darting, dashing, greeting, and making the event the fun happening it was. When I found out about the meetup, the list I saw read that "9 bloggers" were expected, but it was more like 50 people. I even met two reps of an app called, that's positioned as a Pandora competitor.

As it happened there were two parties, the BASHH event, and the Digital Atlanta meetup, held next door at the correctly-named Octane Coffee cafe. I ran into someone I'd not seen since the 2008 Democratic Convention, and met two of the organizers of Digital Atlanta, set for November 7th 2011.

The idea of Digital Atlanta is to have a "week-long series of events celebrating technology and new media marketing achievements in Atlanta" according to its website. The second annual Digital Atlanta (the 2010 event drew over 3,000 people) is in the planning stages, and, as Susan Berry and Stephanie Frost explain in the video, it's seeking sponsors, so this is a great time to get on board.

In short, I happened to walk-in on a major event in the growth of Atlanta's social media community. I hope this blog and video can help spread the word about what's going on. It's quite exciting.

Stay tuned.

Stolen 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar Story Takes A Turn

If you recall the story of Maurice and his stolen 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar, where the Vancouver musician took to Facebook and Craigslist to report the theft of his prize possession, the story has taken a new turn.

Someone, either for real or malicious play, has posted a Craigslist ad offering the same 1953 Gibson Les Paul Guitar for sale. This is how the ad reads:

I have for sale a very altered, but very real 1953 Gibson Les Paul.

This is not a gold-top. In the 1950's, it was refitted with an ABR-1 bridge and stop tailpiece, and then refinished, all by Gibson. The green colour in the picture is accurate. It's one of the lightest Gibson Les Pauls, and the only one of its' colour, that I've ever seen.

The ad also uses the same description of how the guitar was altered that Maurice used in the original Craigslist ad, but it leaves a phone number:

Some changes have been made including:
--changed the P-90's to humbuckers
--had the neck thinned and it, the back and the sides were refinished
--replaced worn out machine heads with gold Gibson ones
--added brass switch ring, jack plate, and rear cavity covers that were made for me by my brother-in-law
--added a truss rod cover with "Les Paul" on it
--installed strap-locks

Give me a call on my cell, (515) 460-1400. Headed back to The States soon and I need it gone by then.

That phone number is, interestingly, the same one as used in this ad selling tickets to the Cubs vs. Pirates Opening Day Game:

2 Tickets Cubs Vs Pirates Opening Day 4 1 11 The Loop 40 details visit
I was planning on going opening day for The Cubs tomorrow vs. The Pirates. Unfortunately work is bringing me home early, and I have two tickets to sell before 11am. First come first serve, $40 for both. I am staying at a hotel in the loop, you would have to be able to get down here in the morning to pick them up. 515-460-1400 Location: The Loop it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests ...more

When I called the number, the message said "Hi, this is Chris. I can't get to the phone right now, so leave a message. I'll get back to you."

According to the Facebook friends who tipped me off to this story, Maurice was informed of the ad, and called the police.

I just wonder if the phone number itself belongs to someone other than the person who created the ad.

Stay tuned.

Oakland News: Changing State Of Blogs In Oakland, Part One

Oakland News on the changing state of blogs in Oakland - part one.

Oakland Blog Shrinkage

First, what happened to blogs like OaklandSeen and Good News In Oakland? The OaklandSeen blog started by long-time Oakland political activist and KPFA Morning Show star Aimee Allison has not produced a single new blog post since late May - it's June 24th now. And this tweet was issued June 8th and pointed to some kind of problem:

OaklandSeen has been undergoing a few technical difficulties. Thank you for your patience. Keep watching this space for more Oakland LOVE...

The most recent, most prominent blog post pointed to Oakland Seen's recently gained "Making Democracy Work" award, presented by the Oakland League Of Women Voters. That's the same award given to this blogger for work during the Oakland Mayor's Race - thanks again!

But whatever's happening, and sources have pointed to some difficulties between editorial staff and management, let's hope OaklandSeen makes a come back.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: hyperlocal is hyperstupid. Unless you're going to walk the beat and try and get local businesses to pay more than the website space is worth from a traffic stand-point (hey, there are suckers out there who don't know how to value what they're paying for), you can't make money and sustain a stand-alone blog site that just covers local community news and ignores World News, pop culture, and sports.

And all for the pseudo-intellectual reason of "That's not news." Look, the fact that people look at web items about, I don't know, Heidi Montag, makes it news. This blogger says this all the time to journalists: "Stop whining about it!" People are voyeurs, and so want to read about other people - a web link with a name of a known person will be clicked on more than one about a known place or a thing.

OaklandSeen is still up, but Good News In Oakland is not. It's dead for now, because when you click on the link to the URL, you get a Go Daddy-owned webpage where Good News In Oakland once was. That's sad.

What's happening is that, because the Oakland locals - OaklandSeen, Good News In Oakland, A Better Oakland, Oakland North, Oakland Focus and Oakland Local - largely don't work together, the overall web strength of the total group is poor.

The main problem is that there are a ton of huge egos among Oakland Bloggers that for the most part don't want to really work together, and for the dumbest of reasons.

To point the finger at myself, I've lent a hand to help a number of people, and even invited some Oakland Bloggers to cross-post to my blogs at Oakland Focus and, and other blogs in my 100-blog network. Some do, but then fall off after a time, and then some bad mouth me for no good reason behind my back.

So I'm supposed to want to help that person in the future? I'd rather not. Life's too short for that.

If I'm asked to come to cover an event by another Oakland blog, I'm there. If I can't make it, I explain why I can't. I've shown many how to video-blog, and some how to blog for traffic - but that's where the rub is. Some can't seem to "get" that the Internet is not print, and people will not come just because you wrote the modern day equivalent to War and Peace. Who cares?

Oakland Bloggers: take your freaking ego out of the equation. You have to write so your work is picked up by search engines and news aggregators. What you want people to accept is a dream - wake up.

According to reports, Good News In Oakland had a fund-drive party on December 18th - I wasn't informed of that. But whatever happened, it didn't raise enough money to sustain the blog site; it's gone for now. And the fact that the URL wasn't purchased is reflective of the lack of value of the name itself; people don't type "Good news in Oakland" in search a lot. Just a fact.

What remains is a Facebook page "liked" by well-over 9,000 people, including me. It's one reason why I went off on The City Of Oakland's ill-advised press release about its Facebook Page that has barely one-third the number of likes.

The blog A Better Oakland chugs along, unsupported by ads or a wealthy investment banker; V Smoothe (Echa Schnider), the blog's owner, has a full time job with the Oakland Public Library system (which hopefully she will be able to keep). Plus, she has a tight focus and a small, loyal following of people who reallycare about Oakland, even if they always don't agree with each other.

That Echa has outside income is what makes her situation vastly different from the other examples. The other Oakland blogs have tried to generate income from some source; but while Echa has went on a fund-drive or three in the past, it wasn't to "save" the blog from extinction, more to generate some income for the amount of time she spent on it. Still, it's touch and go.

And what about The Oakland Post, the news of Oakland's black community and stalwart since the Jurassic age of news? The online version exists, but that's about it. It's just a collection of blog posts, and with no social media component - Twitter? Ever heard or it? - at all.

The Oakland Post is a sad example of the Oakland Blog landscape - so full of great potential, yet poor in execution because of lack of teamwork. If the vast majority of people in this town would get over their petty crap, the news would be different. But they don't, and the town suffers.

Ask yourself this question: why don't Oakland Local, Oakland North, and A Better Oakland work together? Why did A Better Oakland and Oakland North skip the Code For Oakland event? Was Echa invited? Was Oakland North invited? A look at their content shows that that Code For Oakland wasn't a subject of coverage - I covered it. But then I was invited.

See? Something's really wrong here in Oakland.

Stay tuned for part two, when I focus on Oakland North, that dreaded interloper The Bay Citizen, and some other surprises.