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Should Twitter Comply with NYPD?


Right now, the story is gaining momentum online. Someone on Twitter has threatened to launch an “Aurora style” shooting at Mike Tyson’s one-man show in New York City (of course, the person is referring to the devastating shooting in Aurora, Colorado which occurred on the opening day of The Dark Knight Rises and resulted in twelve deaths). Law enforcement has asked Twitter for the user information of the person who sent the tweet–and Twitter won’t comply.

According to ABC News, the first tweet was sent August 1 and read:

This s**t ain’t no joke yo I’m serious people are gonna die just like in aurora.

When someone on Twitter contacted the potential shooter on August 3 to ask if he had changed his mind, he tweeted back:

no I had last minute plans and I’m in Florida rite now but it’ll happen I promise I’m just finishing up my hit list.

Could this be nothing? Just someone with no sense of what is appropriate to joke about and what is not? Indeed. But, is Twitter taking privacy too seriously and not paying attention to the context that shapes things?

It was just days ago that Guy Adams had his account suspended for tweeting the corporate email address of an NBC executive, saying it violated that person’s privacy (the suspension was later overturned and the email was published on at least one website, so it wasn’t actually private). I get that Twitter wants to protect privacy. But, when maintaining that privacy can result in deaths, I say throw it out the window.

I love Twitter and I use it daily. If Twitter amended its Terms of Service to say that the minute a user tweets a threat of any kind, they are not longer covered by privacy laws, I’d gladly accept that revision to the TOS. Because, as a law abiding citizen who never intends to threaten people, I have no problem with that.

However, I know many of you are going to play the free speech card and I’m all about being able to say what you want. But doesn’t a tweet that threatens to kill people fall into the same category as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater? Do you want people like this guy to be protected by privacy clauses? Would you gladly relinquish a little bit of privacy for the common good?

Let’s hear what you think! Should Twitter cooperate with the New York Police Department to potentially avoid another mass shooting in America?

Are Bloggers Different than Journalists?


I’ve spent lots of time in newsrooms, for both print and broadcast news organizations. My first job was as a reporter; the ethics of journalism were pounded into me at an early age. Be objective, don’t do anything to tamper with the integrity of the story, and report the facts. As a blogger, however, I can’t say I follow those same rules.

Should a journalist be so removed from a story that they let someone die?

A photo journalist at the Washington Post recently wrote about watching someone endure the fatal consequences of a snake bite; all the while she took pictures, documenting the man’s death. The article, “Why I Watched a Snake-handling Pastor Die for his Faith” chronicles the photo journalist’s ethical dilemma: to help or to remain objective. In the end, she maintained her distance and shot the photos.

Would a blogger remain as objective?

In 2005, milblogger Michael Yon was embedded with an American troop in Iraq. When the soldiers found themselves under siege, one of whom was shot three times and another who was in hand to hand combat, Yon picked up a rifle to join the battle. You can read an overview of Yon’s story by checking out, “Michael Yon versus General Brooks.” In short, Yon inserted himself into the “story” to help save a soldier’s life.

What about citizen journalists?

In this day and age, every one of us can be a citizen journalist. With video and still cameras on nearly every cell phone, all of us can–and do–capture the world around us. But, as “regular people” do we just capture what we see or do we get involved?

Case in point, a video was captured this week during a road rage incident in Los Angeles, California. Four men got out of their cars after the altercation and two guys filmed the encounter from the safety of their car. One man was severely beaten and repeatedly kicked in the head, but the men behind the video camera did nothing to intervene. The video is below.

It used to be that the “media” were are all trained journalists. They represented formal news agencies and their reporting was held to an ethical and professional standard. But, with the rise of new media, anyone can start a blog, podcast, or Web TV series. Any of us can capture video with our phones and upload it to YouTube or Facebook in seconds. No editor, no news director. We’re all self publishers; we’re all media.

So, where’s the line? Do all of these groups play a different, but important, role? Is a journalist removed, a blogger engaged, and a citizen journalist a voyeur? Is one of these ways right and the others wrong? Or are the differences important, with each of these groups serving their own unique purpose?

Kony 2012: The Power of Social Media at Work to Change the World


This morning, one of my friends posted a video called “Kony 2012.” I didn’t really take notice of it at first because I’m not a super political person, but it did catch my eye because I thought, “Hm, I don’t remember hearing anything about a candidate called Kony in her state.” Then I saw another friend post it. Then another. So I decided to watch it.

Thirty minutes long, and I watched every second of it. That’s not the norm for me, especially in the morning when I’m busy answering emails and getting set up for work for the day. I usually just don’t have the time. But for Kony 2012, I made the time…and I hope you will too.

Kony isn’t a politician; he’s a war criminal that is literally stealing children from their beds to he can arm them and force them to kill. I’ve heard of that happening, but I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know his name, nor did I know that we’re talking about tens of thousands of children. And that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s able to stay under the radar because people have no idea who he is. We need to change that so he can be captured and brought to justice.

It’s a powerful message, but what I think is interesting is that we’re going to watch something even more powerful in real-time: the use of social media to make a huge change in the world. Already, through Facebook and other social media sites, Invisible Children has made a huge difference, gaining support to raise money, reach politicians, and get the world out about Kony’s crimes.

Twenty years ago, this wasn’t possible. Today it is, thanks to social media. That, to me, is chill-inducing and more exciting than just about anything going on in the new media industry.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch and pass on this video, as well as sign the pledge and consider donating to Invisible Children. What do you think of their social media campaign?

Why Didn’t Pepcom Recognize Leo Laporte?


Right now, the Internet is buzzing with CES news as bloggers check out the latest consumer technology offerings. Last night, though, there was a break in the tweets about tech as people expressed outrage over popular podcaster, radio show host, and blogger Leo Laporte was denied access to a pre-CES press event called The Digital Experience put on by PR company Pepcom. Apparently, they didn’t know who he was. Leo’s pretty much a go-to guy in the tech field, so as you can guess, most of his fans were baffled.

Sad panda picture Leo posted on his blog after being denied access to The Digital Experience at CES 2012.

In a quick audio clip, Leo says that he was denied access because they didn’t have credentials – proof that he qualifies as press in the tech field. I don’t know if that was a mistake on Leo’s end by not sending in paperwork or a mistake on Pepcom’s end by misplacing the paperwork. My attempts to contact Pepcom have gone unanswered.

Because Pepcom is being tight-lipped about what happened at The Digital Experience door, I’ll be clear about one thing: I don’t think an a-lister in any industry has the right to demand, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!” when they haven’t followed the registration process for an event. It’s rude, and more importantly, event staffers need the numbers ahead of time to make sure there’s enough food and they’re following fire code laws. That said, I really doubt that this is what happened. This isn’t Leo’s first time at a major event, and he’s not known for being a diva. I think this was simply a case of crossed wires (appropriate for a tech event, right?). I think there was a mix-up with the registration and Leo was mistakenly left off the list.

No matter who was to blame, though, what really matters is that Pepcom staffers – those at the door representing the company – should have without question allowed him access.

See, if you’re a business owner, especially a PR agency, you’re responsible for knowing who the content creators are in your industry. Access for Leo would have meant a ton of additional press for their event, and for all of the companies at their event. Word on the street is that the companies involved paid $15,000 to have a booth at The Digital Experience, and when you’re shelling out that kind of dough, you want access to the best media personalities and analysts in the industry. The fact that Leo instead went somewhere else that evening was a huge blow to those companies.

It can be difficult to know everyone in your industry, especially when you’re new. I’ll never forget the look of shock and horror on a friend’s face when I asked, “Who is Chris Brogan?” several years ago. As a relatively new blogger, I legitimately didn’t know. So I don’t really blame the people working the door for not knowing.

The first person I blame is the person who put together the list. If the people working the door were newbies, they should have had a group of people under the header, “These people didn’t complete the registration process correctly, but they need to be allowed access anyway because they’re a-listers and we want them at our event.” Okay, maybe the header needs a little work, but you get the idea.

At the very least, there should have been protocol – someone at Pepcom who well acquainted with people in the tech industry should have been on call to give approval (or not) if someone arrive who wasn’t on the list. Especially when they arrived with a camera crew who was on the list. It was obviously a mistake.

The second person (or team of people) I blame is whoever was running Pepcom’s social media accounts.

It’s bad enough that this was exploding on Twitter and Pepcom didn’t respond. After Leo’s initial tweet, tons of his fans tweeted about it. When looking to see if Pepcom responded…I couldn’t even find a valid Twitter account for them. Their site says @PepcomEvents, but there’s no profile under that name, and @Pepcom is a egg profile with no tweets. Maybe I’m missing something? How are you a PR events company without a Twitter account?

Update: I’ve been told be a few people that @PepcomEvents was their Twitter handle, but when they started getting all sorts of negative attention over the Leo incident, they changed it so people couldn’t find them and eventually just completely disappeared. I can’t confirm this because, once again, Pepcom ignored my emails and phone call…but…WOW. There are no other words. Just wow.

What they do definitely have is a Facebook page…which says nothing about the Leo Laporte incident. in fact, they very quickly deleted every post mentioning it as it was uploaded to their page. You can see now that their wall is squeaky clean with no negative posts at all.

But this is the Internet. Once something is posted, it doesn’t just disappear. Facebook user Adam J. Kragt was smart enough to start taking screenshots as posts were being deleted. Pepcom took that post off their wall of course, but you can still see the images here.

People were mad. In his audio clip, Leo sounded more disappointed than angry, but in any case, this was a huge Pepcom mistake, and they didn’t do anything to correct it. Social media gives us the awesome ability to screw up in public…but it also gives us the chance to easily and publicly apologize and make things right. As soon as he was denied access, Pepcom should have reached out to him on Twitter or Facebook and corrected the problem. Somebody was obviously monitoring their social media accounts (at least, on Facebook), so why didn’t anyone try to fix the mistake? Why did they instead try to hide it by deleting negative posts?

Will this blow over? Yes. I’m sure an equally big scandal will rock the Internet soon (if it hasn’t already during the writing of this post). People will be saying, “Pepcom who?”

But what really matters to Pepcom, to any business, is the button line – the money. And if I was a company involved with their event or thinking about getting involved with it, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on board next year. I would be more inclined to spend my sponsorship budget on other events where major players in the industry aren’t turned away at the door. Leo has said that he won’t be going back to their events and I’d be worried, as a sponsor, that others would follow in his footsteps. So while the general public will probably easily forget, the people who write the checks won’t…and when they search for press about The Digital Experience, this post is what they’ll find.

** Update by Rick**

When I read Alli’s post, I pretty much agreed with her entire Post. One thing that struck me is that Leo’s TWiT is one of the most high profile press entities at CES. He has one of only two networks I am aware of that have a booth at the front of the show. The other is CNET.

I had our Deb go take a couple photos of Leo’s booth. Here is the TWiT booth at the very front of the South Hall at CES.







Pretty hard for any attendee at CES including the PR flacks to miss.

What Howard Stern Can Teach You About Building Community


A couple of months ago I bought a new Ford Explorer (I love the SYNC system but that’s another post). Anyway it came with a free six month subscription to Sirius/XM radio. I have been a big Howard Stern fan for a couple of decades now but quit listening when he left terrestrial radio in 2006. So I tuned in to see what I had been missing all these years.

Guess what, I hadn’t missed a thing. The same cast of characters were all there. Baba Booey, Robin, Fred, Ronnie the Limo Driver and all the rest of the gang. But that’s just the crew. He has all the same fans too. Jeff The Drunk, Miss Howard Stern, Big Black, King of All Blacks, MaryAnn from Brooklyn, Eric the Midget, Bigfoot and scores of others. Yes new characters have joined the Stern community and some have left, but for the most part it was like stepping back in a time machine. It was like coming home to your crazy family’s house for Christmas.

I never called in, but as a listener to the show I always felt like I was a part of this community. I loved these crazy guys. Sometimes Howard offended me. Usually when he was being mean to someone he used to be friends with for one reason or another. Or some poor sucker who became the butt of his jokes. But like family you get over the things that make you mad and you still love them almost no matter what they do. You can even hear some members of the family trying to mediate disputes between other members from time to time. How many communities have members that are that dedicated to one another?

There are some very important lessons here. You can offend your community from time to time, but you can’t be fake. You have to be you and what they expect you to be. Howard does that like no other. Yes it’s a lot of schtick but that’s what we expect from him and he never fails to deliver.

If people really feel like they belong to a community, then it’s not just your community they are a member of. They are not just loyal to you, but to each other.

But there is more to building a community than that. Other people absolutely hate him. Have tried to ban him, are disgusted by him. Howard Stern knows how to elicit very strong emotional responses from people. I have heard movie stars, rock stars and regular schmoes cry, shout, throw things at each other they are so angry and laugh until their sides hurt.

Guess what, his community loves him all the more and will defend him in some cases to the death against those that hate him. If you were talking about anyone else you would say that last sentence was hyperbole. Not in the case of Howard Stern. No one has actually died yet, but if he asked don’t you think there are those that would?

People have gone to jail for him. Just to pull off a gag. That is a community that very few people can equal.

So this morning I see this story: Howard Stern personally calls Twitter fans on New Year’s Eve. Read the tweets from some of the fans Howard called:

“Howard Stern just called me! This new year rules already!”

OMG! It was like the best thing ever! I started crying after we hung up!”

This wasn’t that difficult to do. But how many celebrities do you know who would drunk dial their fans on New Years Eve?

Howard’s community loves him because they feel loved by him. He shows that love by delivering amazing content. Absolutely make you fall out of your chair laughing funny stuff. He makes people feel like they are part of a family. A family that needs to stick together because the rest of the world is out to get us. It is us against them.

By the way do you notice how many quirky members he has in his family? Do you think that is an accident? Yes he mocks them, makes fun of them, ridicules them he makes racist jokes constantly; but he also accepts them with all their flaws, all their differences. Some of these people are flat out crazy. But Howard accepts them into his community. All you have to do is accept Howard for what he is and you can be a part of this family.

You see anyone can be a part of this community / family. Most communities have some requirement to join, some common interest, some disqualifying factors. Howard’s community does too. Just one; acceptance. Howard Stern is a genius when it comes to creating content and more importantly in building community.

Do you agree or am I just being a fan boy?

Up to 70 Percent of Toy Companies’ Samples Go to Bloggers


LeapFrog's LeapPad sent to mom bloggers to create buzz

The Holiday toy shopping season has come and gone and toy companies are now analyzing their sales and marketing efforts. “What worked and what didn’t?” they ask. How toy companies get the word out about their products has changed drastically over the years.

The Associated Press recently published a story on how mommy bloggers can make or break a toy’s success. It was just five short years ago that 98 percent of the samples toy companies sent out went to TV stations, newspapers and magazines. Enter 2011 and as much as 70 percent of their toy samples went to bloggers, says the AP. That’s a huge shift.

LeapFrog’s $99 LeapPad was almost impossible to purchase as we got closer to Christmas and part of that reason could definitely be attributed to mom bloggers, such as Colorado blogger Emily Vanek of ColoradoMoms.com. She was contacted by LeapFrog’s PR to host a “mommy party” for the product. This was LeapFrog’s chance to use word-of-mouth marketing in real life, as well as the online marketing efforts of mom bloggers all over the United States.

Of course, with all things related to mom blogging, there are your critics. Just read the one comment left by “dosolivas” who says, “Mommy blogs are an industry with a scheme ripped straight from ProBlogger.com to build up the ILLUSION of influence. One way they do that is by creating notice on big media sites, soliciting to appear on morning shows, and things like that. This creates the I SAW IT ON TV effect that gets people to think the site must be legit because… they saw it on tv.”

Another commenter chimed in and said they’ve worked with mom bloggers for close to two years and working with them has overall proven to generate buzz for a product.

It will definitely be interesting to watch how companies and mom bloggers (or bloggers in general) work together over the next few years.

Do you think companies will continue to reach out to bloggers for their marketing efforts for years to come, or are we hitting a spike that’s about to start going downhill?

Do You Pinterest? These Companies Do and It’s Paying Off


I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Pinterest and if you haven’t, feel free to head on over there. I’ll see you back here in a few days when you’ve pried yourself away to eat something, feed the pets and take a shower.

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board, a pin board, of all your favorite ideas and finds. When I first heard about it, I thought it was just for finding home decorating ideas, recipes and cool outfits. I was wrong.

I tried to stay away from Pinterest as long as I could, because come on, do I really need another excuse to keep me tied to my computer and smart phone. I’ll answer that. No. No I don’t.

It wasn’t until my nephew, who is in college, stayed with us for a few days during Thanksgiving. He kept talking about Pinterest. My teenage son and daughter then decided to create an account and all I was hearing was laughter and “Did you see my board and what I just found?!”

Needless to say they were having a good time, and being one who doesn’t like to be left out, I joined Pinterest and have been addicted ever since. (Thank you Caleb.)

Pinterest is definitely not just for those who want to find yet another creative place to hang garland in their house for the holidays, or a new cookie recipe that will make all the moms at your son’s elementary school Christmas party green with envy. It’s for anyone – male, female, young and old.

You know who else has taken a liking to Pinterest? Companies. I was reading this article on Adage about how Pinterest is driving more traffic for some companies than Facebook.

Here are a few companies mentioned in the article who are using Pinterest to drive both traffic and sales:

You can visit their pages and read the Adage article to see how they’re using Pinterest. One thing you’ll find, is they are still all in the learning phase.

Land’s End actually created a contest titled “Pin It To Win It” which kicked off December 14th. You can find out how to enter on the Land’s End Facebook Page. Here’s a snippet from the page:

We’re excited to kick-off a Holiday Pin it to Win it contest, our first-ever challenge on Pinterest. Simply create a virtual pin board featuring your favorite Lands’ End Canvas products for a chance to win one of ten $250 Lands’ End Canvas Gift Cards. Contest ends 12/21/11 at 11:59pm CT. Winners will be judged based on creativity, composition & style expertise.

Clever don’t you think? It will definitely be fun to watch Pinterest grow, as well as how different companies use Pinterest to their advantage.

Do you Pinterest?

2012: The Year of BlogWorld Community


As we close out 2011 and plan ahead for 2012, the most important conversation we’re having is about the BlogWorld community.  Without getting too sappy about it, we know we’d be nothing without our attendees, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and the folks who engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+ and the BlogWorld blog.  All of these different groups make up the BlogWorld community and without you there’d be no us. That’s why for 2012 you’ll see an even more community-focused BlogWorld.

Here are some of the things you can look forward to in the upcoming year:

  • Community Member of the Week:  We’re calling out the most positive, productive members of our community each week to thank them for their support. Each Member of the Week will receive enternal glory and a BlogWorld Los Angeles ’11 T-shirt designed by Hugh MacLeod.
  • Community Member of the Month: One lucky commnunity member each month will receeive access to our Virtual Ticket from BlogWorld Los Angeles. Speaker interviews, over  one hundred educational sessions and the best conference learning around will be awarded to  one of our most active, positive and productive community member each month.
  • Community Member of the Year: In the fall, we’re going to choose one active community member to win a full access pass for BlogWorld Los Angeles ’12.
  • Headline of the Week: We’re going to scan the niches to roundup each week’s blog, podcast, and video headlines to bring them to you here.  The members of our community are doing some incredible things online and we’re going to highlight the best of each niche each week on the blog. Feel free to contact me at the address listed below for more details as to how to submit your content for headline of the week.
  • Comment of the week: Each week, we’re going to highlight the best comments on the BlogWorld blog, with a link back to each chosen commenter.
  • Revamped community efforts: Look for more focused and ramped up community efforts in 2012. We’re going to be rejeuvenating all  our channels in 2012 and we hope you’ll be a part of it all.
  • Networking events: The best communities flourish offline as well. Look for more community networking events at BlogWorld and other conferences.
  • More community focused #BWEChats: Instead of all guests all the time, we’re going to mix up our #BWEChats so there’s more community participation. In addition to special guests, we will also have weeks where you, the BlogWorld community, are our guests in a more “town hall” type format.


What does it mean to be a postive, productive member of the BlogWorld community?

It simply means you participate in our discussion across the channels.  If you’re a familiar face at our blog discussions, Twitter, #BWEChat, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, and you’re contributing positively  to the conversation,  we’ll keep you in mind for eternal glory. We don’t mean every waking spare moment should be spent hanging out with us, but if you’re a regular, we’d like to give you a shout out.

Stay tuned to this blog for a look at all the places to connect with us online, so we can help our community connect with you online.

For more information about any of our community efforts or how you or your brand can work with us on a community campaign, please contact  Community Director Deb Ng at deb@blogworldexpo.com


Oregon Blogger’s Fate Could Impact Bloggers Everywhere, Sued for $2.5 Million


Crystal L. Cox

It’s been up for discussion on many occasions, whether a blogger can, and should be, considered a journalist. Many times, bloggers post opinion pieces with information and “facts” they gathered from different places, and never really think twice about it.

After you read this story about an Oregon blogger who lost her case in court and is being sued for $2.5 million, it might cause you to think a little more about what you post on your blog. Or, this story just might make you angry that this judge drew a clear line between journalists and bloggers.

Crystal L. Cox, an Oregon based blogger, writes several law-centric blogs. She wrote posts on the Obsidian Finance Group firm, and its co-founder Kevin Padrick, stating the company and Padrick were guilty of bankruptcy fraud. They eventually took her to court and won.

The judge ruled in favor of the firm, saying this single post was grounds for defamation because it stated her opinion as factual. Cox claims she received the information from a very reliable inside source, who she was not willing to give up, and therefore is protected by Oregon’s shield law. The judge said, “not so fast” and offered up his opinion on the difference between a “journalist” and a “blogger”.

Here is U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez’s statement obtained from Seattle Weekly:

. . . although defendant is a self-proclaimed “investigative blogger” and defines herself as “media,” the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law

Cox told Seattle Weekly this ruling could impact bloggers everywhere.

I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this story. Here are some questions up for discussion:

  • Should Cox be protected by the Oregon Shield law since she claims she received her information from an inside source?
  • Do you agree with the judge’s ruling on the difference between a blogger and journalist and the fact that Cox isn’t affiliated with any media companies?
  • Do you think bloggers need to be more careful in regards to what they post?
  • Do you believe this single case will impact bloggers and anyone who writes on the internet?

Image Source: http://www.crystalcox.com/

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