Category Archives: General

Facebook Serves up More Control

Facebook announced many changes today, all of which are ones we have long waited for. The biggest news of the day was the fact that they are giving us the ability to download all of OUR information. You are now able to quickly download everything – your messages, Wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information. To protect your information, this feature is only available after confirming your password and answering appropriate security questions. You’ll access this new feature in your Account Settings area.

I think that the biggest – and best – news of the day is the new Groups feature. You can now easily control which friends see what information by using the overhauled Groups system. You want to post those drunken vacation pictures, but you don’t want your boss to see them. That’s simple – add the people you want to see to a particular group and only share those photos with them. In his post today, Zuckerberg says that he feels this particular service will “change the way you use Facebook and the web.”

From this space, you can quickly post photos, make plans and keep up with ongoing conversations. You can also group chat with members who are online right now. You can even use each group as an email list to quickly share things when you’re not on Facebook. The net effect is your whole experience is organized around spaces of the people you care most about.

Now this is social done right, in my opinion. Facebook is finally giving us the control we so desperately wanted – and need. It’s up to you who sees your information. It’s up to you to choose whether grandma can see the snapshots from the bar last Friday, or whether your friends would care to see the latest news from your company. Create Groups for the very different groups of people in your circle, and dole out information to those who truly want to share in each aspect of your life.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend BlogWorld

This is a guest post written by Imei Hsu.

A colleague of mine asked me to reflect upon my “Year as the n00b of Social Media”, my phrase to contrast myself with all the people running around as self-proclaimed experts in the vast ocean of New Media. He said to me, “You know, I was one of the first people in my community to get on Twitter and start a blog years ago, and in one year, look at you! You are doing things I couldn’t even imagine! How on earth did that happen?”

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….”

Just two weeks after I started my first blog, launched my website Hips For Hire, and started the Twitter handle @HipsForHire, I was on a plane to Las Vegas for BlogWorld and New Media Expo 2009. I had stayed up late just several days before, changing my work schedule and looking for cheap airfare. Just as I was about to give up, a ticket dropped in price, and I made it mine. Vegas, baby.

Within minutes of stepping into the vendor gallery of the convention center, I wondered if I had made a mistake. There simply could not be THIS MUCH “trouble” involved in running a blog. Oh boy. Smiling faces introduced me to this tool or that app, and people asked me questions about my project that I could not answer: how is that scalable? What are your analytics on your site? What WordPress plug-ins do you use? What kind of conversions are you seeing?

To make things even more interesting, Chris Pirillo and I were asked to share some time on BlogWorld Radio. He would be the “expert”, and I would be… well, the two-week old newbie. Friends of mine across the nation later told me that they were surprised to hear my voice tell them in French, “Farting is good for the health”.

We always remember our beginnings. While there is so much more to learn, no one says I’m a newbie anymore. The stakes are higher, the choices are harder, and monetizing my sites is still on my plate, but thanks to Blogworld 2009, my project got the “kick in the pants” start it needed to put it on the Seattle map. With the usual hurdles to clear, I hope to be at BlogWorld 2010.

Here’s why you should consider attending:

  • If you are new to the world of blogging and Social Media, BWE is the one place where you won’t be laughed at. BWE participants consistently welcomed me, even when I told them I was but two weeks into starting my first Twitter handle. No one even laughed at me when I said I felt like the village idiot in a sea of knowledgeable people. Instead, many went out of their way to introduce me to others, ask me what I wanted to do with my project, and helped me network.

    BWE was the very first blogging and New Media event I attended. It is the perfect introduction to the world of blogging, with over 200 speakers, thousands of participants, a gigantic vendor gallery, and even a convenient downloadable “Make My Schedule” page to help you plan your strategy to get the most targeted value out of your dollar.

    Eventually I attended and participated in six Social Media events around the country in nine months as a participant observer. BWE had one of the least “douchebag” environments for the newbie (and the n00b). If you want encouragement for your new idea or small business, BWE is an excellent place to start. If you are already well on your way, but you want to take your biz or idea to the next level, BWE supports advanced content to help you get there.

  • Ask, “Where is the money?” and you will be directed to panels with people who can talk about monetizing your own blog world. Although money is not the only focus of BWE panels and sessions, the speakers who are invited to talk about monetization are knowledgeable and willing to share what they know on the subject. It isn’t a secret, and they want to make sure you aren’t paying oodles to some self-appointed “social media guru” to get that information. It is no surprise to me that last year’s panel on the subject was one of the most popular sessions of BWE 2009.
  • You don’t have to identify and collect the pieces of the puzzle by yourself. BWE sessions have done it for you, identifying what you need to get started in blogging, building community, finding your niche, getting the tools, monetizing, and launching your ideas. There was even a very straight-forward session on the tools, such as camera, lighting, audio, and making video podcasts on a budget. Everything short of stuffing dollar bills in your pocket happens at BWE. Your biggest challenge will be to select which sessions to attend, since this is a multi-track conference. Imei’s tip: make friends, divide and conquer, and get together over lunch to compare notes. Remember, sharing is caring!
  • Never leave the building. This year, BWE takes advantage of the original concept of the casino: put everything you need under one roof, and people will never leave. Plus, it always helps to keep the lights on 24/7. Other than after-parties which may be placed around the Vegas Strip, the main events of BWE are in Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and you can register for group rates at the hotel.
  • Sponsored parties. Learn about the tools (or just be one), schmooze with the speakers, and network to your heart’s content. There are plenty of small parties thrown by sponsors, as well as large after-parties open to you with the wave of your event pass. I can’t guarantee you won’t have to leave the building for those parties, but if you bring your walking shoes or some extra taxi money, you’ll burn off some calories before you add some in. Imei’s tip: Be prepared to have your picture taken with attractive men and women you are not married to, some of whom may not be wearing a lot of clothing. If you have a jealous partner at home, get clearance, or expect to live in the DMZ for a week or so post-return.
  • Did someone say booze? OK, I don’t mean to get anyone in trouble, but one of the panels I sat in last year ended with shots of liquor passed around in the spirit (no pun intended) of community and chastity (I mean fraternity). Seriously, if you enjoy a glass of vino with your meal, you’ll find nice soirees with wine a-flowing, plus some world-class food and unbeatable company to chase that wine down with. Imei’s tip: hunt down the Maccallan sponsor. Know where she’s hanging out. Fleece her for some Maccallan 18. And save a shot for me. If she’s hanging out with the PopChips girl, that is an insane bonus.
  • Stay in the lap of luxury. Even if between-presentation massages aren’t your thing, Las Vegas has events for marrieds with kids, singles, and solo-for-the-conference people. Hotel accommodations at Mandalay Bay are super comfy, so you can hit the ground running from keynote to after-party without missing a beat. If you get a chance, pay attention to the beautiful art in the hotels, or just enjoy a room you don’t have to clean yourself. [Do be nice to housekeeping, though].
  • Saying you’re a blogger is a good thing. Although I “blog” for myself and others, I haven’t really called myself a blogger because of the stigma attached, i.e. blogger = unemployed, “everyone is a blogger”. At BWE, saying you’re a blogger is like saying you’re mostly made of water. Duh, tell us something we don’t know. Don’t worry about titles, attend BWE, and just “be” you. You will quickly notice that there is room for the uniqueness of what you bring to the blogosphere.
  • Participate. If “living the question” is important to finding the answers, then attend BWE and be sure to ASK the question, preferably in front of a microphone. Last year, I asked the question, “Do you have to be THE best at something in order to be successful?” at the end of a presentation where the speaker emphasized being the best. The presenter was thoughtful enough to say, “You know, I don’t know. Being the best certainly helps, but you also have to be passionate about what you do.”

    Several people have asked me about that very question. I can honestly say, you do not have to be THE best. You do have to have skill, but more important, you must provide good content and consistent relationship. Passion, I have learned, simply keeps you on the path, when everyone else has turned for home.

    By participating in BWE, I walked away with as many questions as answers, and I’ve been working on them all year. Perhaps I wouldn’t be working on them if I didn’t bother to participate and ask the questions in the first place.

  • Connect and create. Chemical reactions happen when reactants are combined and/or a catalyst is added to start a reaction. If you want to bring some sparks to your business, you need to get yourself in an environment where you can connect and create, just like a chemical reaction. BWE is a great environment to network. Bring a stack of your business cards, BUMP away on your Android or iPhone device, and leave your lunches open to meet new people.

    Imei’s tip: type your ideas immediately into your note app or an email, and send it to yourself. Write down why you took that biz card from someone, i.e. “he is interested in getting widgets to country X with non-profit Y”. When you return home, go through the cards immediately, and follow up on your leads.

  • Imagine yourself a speaker or panel presenter at BWE in the future. Do you have an idea that you believe is noteworthy enough to present at BWE? One way to find out is to attend this year’s expo, and take an assessment of the marketplace. What’s there? What’s missing? Can you provide what’s missing? How do you make this better?

BWE just might be one of those conferences that the phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” should not apply. The whole point of BWE is to take what you learn, make connections, create new ideas, and take action when you return home. You’ll be glad you attended, and it won’t even require you to get sauced in a bar and wake up with a lampshade on your head.

B. Imei Hsu, RN, MAC, LMHC is a nurse psychotherapist and a performance artist in Bellydance, Bollywood, and music. She launched her project Hips For Hire, matching performance and visual artists with hiring individuals and organizations while raising money and awareness for various social causes. Since Blog World Expo 2009, Imei has gone on to attend other conferences around the nation and world, including Le Web 2009 and SXSWi 2010. Imei finally got an iPhone, and has joined the ranks of those who whine about cell phone carriers. She lives with her cat and her MacHead world in Seattle, WA.

Sushi is Sexy

This is a guest post written by Imei Hsu.

The first time I came to school with rice, squid, octopus, and eel in my lunch pail, the other kids in my class left me out of the lunch swap. I heard words like, “Ewww!”, “Yuck, what is it?”and “Asian people are weird!” whispered as the other kids looked at my lunch with disgust. You’d think a sensitive kid like me would have been crushed.

I was secretly relieved.

Those little morsels of soy-covered eel seat-belted to a block of mild vinegar-infused rice were a true pleasure to eat. I looked at the other kids’ pathetic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, smashed against an apple that had been carelessly tossed into the same box with a giant metal thermos, and I suddenly didn’t care about all the intolerant comments flying around my head from the other kids who hoped to ruin the private party in my mouth.

Things have changed. Sushi went from being the weird baby octopus eating sensation relegated only to Japan, to the any-day, everyday eating culture of Seattle, WA. Today, I only have to walk two blocks from my home to one of two decent sushi restaurants, and my new favorite sushi hangout, Japonessa Sushi Cocina, is only a short walk from my office in Pioneer Square. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

On September 21, 2010 Yuriko Say, manager of Japonessa, Chris Pirillo and yours truly invite our local tweeps to Japonessa’s first ever Tweetup (please use the hashtag #Japonessatweetup when sharing). Just a couple of weeks after they opened, I sauntered into Japonessa on a tip from my dance choreographer Mollie Singh, who is all about the good sushi at the best prices. Since then, I’ve returned for Japonessa’s all-day Happy Hour menu, half-price special roll of the month, and ridiculously low-priced sides ($1 each for rice, edamame, miso soup, etc).

Why is sushi so sexy-hot these days?

  • Great food for athletes. Marathoners love the combo of protein and carbs that give them a burn to take them from start to finish. Salmon, because of the essential fatty acids, are a fav of runners. And runners have great endurance. It’s all about how long you last.
  • Presentation. Sushi is to sexy food like a model is to the fashion runway. Sushi is never slopped onto a plate without the foreplay of placing each slice in a pattern, contrasted against a lovely ceramic plate. Neither are sushi pieces lonely. They usually get displayed on a bed of delicate greens, and sometimes they are covered in a satiny layer of soy sauce, accented with a dollop of wasabi. The whole plate usually screams, “Bite me.”
  • Kick. Wasabi and ginger accompany your sushi selections. The ginger works to clear your palate (I never eat mine; I simply bite a piece to release the flavor in my mouth), and the wasabi is like a quickie, the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” version of hot mustard. That “kick” is enough to put me in a lover’s coma afterwards.
  • Bondage. There is some serious bondage going on in sushi land. Rice is tightly tied and wrapped with seaweed, eggs are beaten and stuffed inside rolls along with crab and cucumbers, tempera batter is whipped with everything from beer to Panko flakes. In the world of sushi, pain is pleasure. However, as far as I know, there is no spanking involved, except when live geoduck is texturized before serving.
  • No guilt pleasure. I have never regretted eating sushi. I have, however, regretted eating BBQ ribs (sauce made me puke for days), fast food (12 years ago was the last time), fried food (sick for three days), and heavy food (see results of fried food). Just about every ingredient in today’s sushi restaurant is healthy. No MSG! No corn! No excess sugar, preservatives, or fillers. Unless your sushi restaurant fills everything with imitation crab and mayonnaise (as in a low cost conveyor belt setup), sushi is healthy, low in fat and cholesterol, and high in protein and digestible carbohydrates. Translation: even if you have a one-night stand experience with sushi, it’ll be that one you always remember, and never regret.

If that isn’t enough, Japonessa (pronounced with the Latin “J” that sounds like a breathy “H”) has a unique spin on sushi: Latin flair. Imagine hot peppers, citrus fruit juice, ceviche, and gourmet cheese tastefully added to your traditional sushi offerings. It’s enough to make you want to salsa yourself right up to the bar for some sake to cool your tongue.

Japonessa’s first tweetup includes a free drink ticket to the first 50 tweeps, and a free sushi dinner giveaway to one lucky (and sexy!) person (bring your business card, and you must be present to win). We will do the drawing before 8:30 pm. Chris is filming, “How to Eat Sushi”, demonstrating the do’s and dont’s of sushi etiquette to keep everyone looking good and feeling hip-sexy to boot. We hope to see you local Seattle people there!

B. Imei Hsu, RN, MAC, LMHC is a nurse psychotherapist by day and a performance artist by night and weekends. When she’s not helping artists through her project Hips For Hire, she’s blogging on Lockergnome’s Health page, and providing segments for Video Nurse on Ustream.tv. She’s a die-hard sushi whore, and lives in her little MacHead world in Seattle, WA