Friday, August 5, 2011

update: blog transfer & MN Blogger Conference

*** Update *** MY NEW BLOG DESIGN IS LIVE AT MARKETINGMAMA.COM - if you are seeing this in a reader, pleae double check to make sure you are receiving new posts after this one. You may need to unsubscribe/resubscribe. Thank you!!!

I'm still here folks, working behind the scenes on launching the new blog design and transferring to self-hosting. I thought we would have been able to launch by now, but like all fun tech projects, have run into a few snags.

The good news is I have a great tech person working on it, so I'm not the one sweating bullets... I'm just the one waiting as patiently as possible for it to be done. I shared a sneak peek of my new logo over on my facebook page - if you haven't seen it yet, head on over and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Blogger Conference agenda is taking shape. Arik and I have most of the topics hammered out, but are still working out a few details before we make it public. In addition, we will be opening up one of the sessions for topic/speaker submissions and then giving folks the ability to vote on which topic they find the most compelling. We tried this approach last year and it worked great.

The registration date has not been set yet, however we'll be sure to give you as much notice as possible. Stay tuned to the conference blog, twitter and facebook for more info.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

6 ways technology enhanced my U2 concert experience

It's been a week since the U2 concert in Minneapolis - the 360 tour - a show that may go down as the most amazing performance this town has ever seen. I've been reflecting on all the ways it impressed me... and I realized that in many ways technology enhanced my experience - allowing me to interact and enjoy it with other people in a way we couldn't before we all carried smart phones in our pockets.

Don't get me wrong, the music was great! It was especially cool that most of the outdoor concert took place in the pouring rain. But rather than talk about Bono's wardrobe choices (mostly leather) or the cool hat I bought - I'm going to share 6 ways technology enhanced my experience:

Here we are at the stadium - Me with the winners Kathie, Suzi, Brenda and guests.

1. Free tickets. None of this would be possible if it weren't for StubHub and their Moms Night Out promotion. Of course this is because I'm a blogger (who happens to talk about music & activities around town quite a bit). They offered me and 3 readers + guests tickets to the concert, plus dinner and transportation. It was a fun giveaway and we are all grateful!

2. The stage. It looked like an alien spaceship - although everyone called it "the claw." Like the name of the tour, it was 360 degrees around and there wasn't a bad seat in the house - there was even a second circle around it the band walked to from bridges connected to the stage. Even more impressive at night, the whole thing lit up and the black digital screen in the center, top showed close ups of the band.

3. Texting - smart phones played a big part of the event. Although there were 58K people piled into TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, it actually felt... intimate. As soon as I arrived, a number of friends and I started texting about where we were all sitting. Some friends visited me in our section... others we simply tried to find from far away. I was in an orange shirt, so that helped my friend Paul find me and snap this pic from a ways away. Hint: I'm right in the center.

4. Twitter. Whenever two or more twitter peeps gather, a hashtag usually erupts. It allows us to track all the tweets about an event. The hashtag for the concert was #U2360MSP. And even a week post-event, I'm still seeing a number of tweets from people reminiscing.

5. Video and photos. I know there were pics shared in real time of the concert on twitter and facebook. And the next morning the videos started to appear on You Tube... allowing us to relive some of the most amazing moments. I was watching them in awe and sending them out to my networks, hoping to share just a moment of the experience with them. Here's one of my fave songs from that evening:

6. Fan Cam. A couple of days after the event, I saw this 360 photo of the stadium that allowed attendees to find and tag themselves. Here's how they caught me... (click out of the pop ups on the screen and you'll find me in the center). I also got a kick out of Greg Swan's humorous screen grabs of random people on the fan cam over at Perfect Porridge.

Were you at a U2 360 concert in Minneapolis or elsewhere? I'd love to hear if this resonates with you or if there were other ways you felt technology influenced your experience (positive or negative).

p.s. Let's connect on Facebook! You can find my page here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I love you all the way to Japan

Avery and I have this little love game we play, many times a day. I say I love her all the way to a {country or state}, and she picks another one, and so on. Sometimes I throw in a new country. Last night we found all the places we talk about on a globe. Today she surprised me (not in this video) by saying, "I love you all the way to the Australian Outback!"

By the way - I was standing outside the mini-van filming her. We were not driving, and I buckled her up before we hit the road. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Hey friends, just a quick check-in post since it's been a few days...

I've been busy working on the blog behind the scenes - I'm finally moving to self-hosting, so I'm also taking the opportunity to give my blog design a face lift. If I'm a bit more quiet this week, it's because I'm putting my extra time into research and design. Of course you can always find me over on twitter if you want to see what I'm up to!

Speaking of design, I'm taking down my BlogHer ads from the sidebar today - after waiting out the 30 day notice I gave them last month. I still like BlogHer as a company and the work they do to support and connect bloggers - however, despite my traffic continuing to increase, my share of their ad revenue has decreased over the years. It's gotten to the point where I dont' feel it is worth giving them the space on my blog anymore. I'll still make private ads available to companies who provide relevent products or services to my readers, just let me know if you'd like more info.

Do you remember the post I wrote on my other blog about shouting from your social media rooftop where we discussed if we should blast companies in social media when we have trouble? Sometimes it's tough not to shout... loudly.

This week I saw a sign in a restaurant that appeared to make fun of people with a shellfish allergy. I could have taken a picture and posted it here or sent it out on twitter and created some buzz about how bad it was... I did bring it up to the staff person I was with at the time, but this morning I spent time crafting a calm, respectful e-mail to the General Manager and head chef, telling them about what I saw, why I was concerned and what I'm hoping they'll do to make it better. I want to give them an opportunity to respond before I share the full story with you.

Yesterday we had a group of bloggers out to the conference site at Allina headquarters in Minneapolis to see the space and brainstorm topics and speakers for the 2nd annual MN Bloggers Conference. Looking forward to making significant progress over the next couple of weeks so we can open up registration Mid-August. Remember, all the details are over on the MN Blogger Conference web site.

Tonight is the Moms Night Out to see U2! Very excited - here's hoping the weather holds out, but Beth and I have ponchos ready just in case! :)

Hope you all are well and having a good weekend!

p.s. I just heard the news that Amy Winehouse passed away. This saddens me on many levels. Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. RIP Amy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Winners :: Moms Night Out

Congratulations to the winners of the Moms Night Out, hosted by StubHub. These lovely ladies and their guests will be joining me this Saturday evening for the U2 concert and a special VIP pre-party at the Hard Rock Cafe:

1. Suzi of Pink Vanilla Cupcakes

2. Brenda of ... twitter

3. Kathie of The Garden of Life

I'm looking forward to a fun Moms Night Out with these great moms and my friend Beth of Where It Blooms - I'll be sure to live tweet the event with pics... :)

A big thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway - it was a lot of fun! And a huge thanks to StubHub for sponsoring it and giving some great moms a night on the town.

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by StubHub. I was not paid to write this post, however as a co-host of the Mom's Night Out in Minneapolis, StubHub is giving me complimentary tickets to the concert and the VIP dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.

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