Nov 23
Digg Meetup SF Posted by Laura Iriarte

November 19, 2008 – THIS was an example of social media at it’s finest! Digg meeting and connecting with their Diggers! People talking, laughing, networking, drinking, dancing together. This is how you do it, this is how you build brand loyalty. A lot of websites are doing this now – including Mashable, Seesmic, Plista, Facebook, Ch.imp, ROFLcon, BlogHer, Social Media Club, and WordPress – to name a few of the events I’ve attended this year. Twitter users are so determined to connect and network with each other that they make their own events, that they fondly call Tweetups.

Last night I went to the Digg Meetup in San Francisco at Club Mighty with Holly. Holly is a writer, mainly writing heavy metal music articles for magazines.

“Digg is (a website) democratizing digital media. As a user, you participate in determining all site content by discovering, selecting, sharing, and discussing the news, and videos that appeal to you.” If I find an awesome article online I Digg it, I submit it to the Digg website or I click on the site’s Digg button, if they have one, to submit it. When you see an article that has a lot of Diggs, that lets you know a lot of people thought it was good and that it’s probably worthwhile to read it. I have my own Digg button here on my blog site as well as a Digg button that I downloaded for Firefox to easily Digg articles I like.

Holly and I went inside Mighty, looked around, then proceeded to the Photoboof. You take photo booth pics and get copies back, just like a regular photo booth, but in addition, your photos are randomly shown on the big screen out in the main room in different patterns! Fun!

We both received one drink ticket each, and they didn’t make white Russians, so Holly gave me hers. I ended up having two glasses of white wine, then later one more that John Yamasaki, of Tech Karaoke fame, gallantly bought for me. Luckily I ate before going, since there is no food there, so I was fine to drive.

At first I didn’t see anyone I knew, but slowly people arrived. Karen Hartline, event coordinator with was there, and yes, we met in the bathroom and took our requisite pic there! I also saw Nicholas Iannone, Nick is with GETV-Geek Entertainment TV. He shared a secret with me that MC Hammer was our surprise guest! Later 5 other people told me the same thing as the rumor swirled around the room.

I finally got the chance to talk with Cathy Brooks from Seesmic for a couple of minutes. She was brilliantly moderating a panel at the last Social Media Club event I attended, but I didn’t get the chance to speak to her then. She was so nice and said she has been following my blog and can see the progression! Yay for my progression! I am MAD that the pic we took together came out a bit fuzzy. We’ll have to do a new one the next time we run into each other!

I met Larry Chiang last night, too. Larry is a tall handsome blogger who blogs about business and social media. His newest project is some old-school article writing for Business Week! I just discovered Larry’s blog recently and was really impressed with his intelligent writing style, laced with bits of humor, so it was really a pleasure to meet him in person!

Holly and I briefly met the founders of Digg. All the Digg people were very friendly and fun, they had about 50 employees there socializing and mixing with each other and the crowd. I enjoyed sitting next to and talking to a girl who works in Digg’s financial department, a sweetie!

The founders, Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson gave a brief speech, then turned the mic over to a rapper named Jelly Donut – who was actually wearing a jelly doughnut costume complete with hot pink tights! Rapper Two Touch joined him and they freestyled to words picked out of a bucket! Rap isn’t my top choice – but they definitely rocked the crowd! Finally MC Hammer was announced! Very fun! He didn’t actually perform, at least while I was there, but he did have a mic and was singing along from time to time. He was supposed to be judging the dance-off, but if they had a winner, I didn’t hear it announced. It was a blast to watch the dancers though!

Near the end of the night Sukhjit appeared sitting next to me like magic. That was a fun surprise for both of us! We keep intending to get together for a cup of coffee or glass of wine, but it hasn’t worked out yet, hopefully soon! It was too loud to have a proper talk during the dance-off, but we did go get our picture taken with and meet MC Hammer!

Really a fun night, only thing is, I came home with NO schwag. What’s up with that?! Well that’s not entirely true, they did pass out some fun stickers. I really wanted one of the Linux ones to give to my son, but those had disappeared by the time I got up to the stage. Grrrr!

For more pictures from the event, please see my flickr photostream HERE.

If you were there or not I would LOVE to hear your comments on the night!

Lastly, subscribers are welcome! Let me help you keep up-to-date on Social Media and Art in the San Francisco Bay Area! You can subscribe by email, RSS coming soon!

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Nov 01
TechKaraokeSF Posted by Laura Iriarte

I am a karaoke virgin no more!

Wednesday night, October 29, 2008, I went to my first TechKaraokeSF! I heard Tara Hunt talking about it last month at Social Media Club and I thought it sounded fun, so I had to check it out! TechKaraokeSF is an open event-your only qualification-is that you’re in the tech industry-which covers a lot of fields!

TechKaraokeSF is organized by John Yamasaki, Chief Location Wrangler, Tara Hunt, Chief Crooner Wrangler, and Sandra Arriaga, Chief Enthusiasm Wranger. John was a wonderful host, he came and introduced himself to me and added me on twitter instantly. He also checked in with me through the night and encouraged me to sing.

TechKaraokeSF is a place where those in the tech industry can come and let their hair down and mingle with others for a night, instead of sitting in their home or cubicle staring at the computer screen! Alchohol consumption is a must, as well as your duty to rock the mic! Be a rockstar or popstar for the night, it’s your choice!

I’ve noticed that a lot of people in tech seem to have moved to the San Francisco area from other parts of the country or world. It can take awhile to make new friends. This event gives them the chance to get out and meet others in their field in a fun environment.

I wanted to go to TechKaraokeSf, but-I was a little nervous-since I had never been and never tried karaoke before.  I did some research and looked at Annie’s Social Club’s song list.  I picked out a couple of songs that I thought I could sing.  When I was in school I was always in choir, then in high school, acapella choir.  I wasn’t the number one soloist, but I could sing. Yes, that was a long time ago. I also am pretty comfortable on stage in front of a crowd-still-this was something different.

It was a little slow getting started, but once it did it was tons of fun!  I thought it would be more of a networking event-but honestly-it was not easy to have much of a conversation with people while the karaoke was going on.  Plus, you want to watch and listen to whoever is on the stage anyway-after all-that’s what karaoke is all about!

I did meet a couple of people-before things got started.  Morgan Brown is Director of Marketing with TURNHERE internet video.  He and I were the first ones on the scene.  Next, Michael Selvidge, PR Dude with VSC consulting arrived.

Daniel Lieberman, President and CEO of bitpusher kept encouraging me to give karaoke a try. He said he’s only been karaoke-ing a couple of months and is hooked on it now!

Our karaoke hostess with the mostest was Eileen.  She was fantastic!  She kept the party moving! Eileen also dances with a burlesque group of cheerleaders (I wish I could remember their name! I love burlesque!) and taught me something I will now use forever-if you lean forward slightly with your shoulders your double chin will disappear in photos! Yes!

I signed up for a song, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, by Lauren Hill. The thing is, I ended up third on the list, and I wasn’t ready yet.  The crowd was still small, and I hadn’t even finished one glass of wine.  Not that I drink much, but I needed two for this.  I told Eileen I wasn’t ready yet and she was very kind.  She said to let her know whenever I was ready.  I sat, I watched, I listened, I took lots of pictures.  I drank my wine.  Daniel said, “Just go for it-it’s not going to get any easier later”.  So, I did.

I have no idea what I sounded like? But, I got through it just fine. I sang, I danced a little, I saw other people in the audience singing along with me, and when it was over, people clapped! It wasn’t bad at all! I didn’t sign up for another song, but one was enough for starters. The rest of the night I enjoyed watching and listening to everyone else. It was great night, nice to see Karen Hartline, event coordinator with Mashable, Tara Hunt, blogger at Horse, Pig, Cow and author of the upcoming book, The Whuffie Factor, and Nick Starr, and nice to make some new friends. Mitu Khandaker is one of my twitter friends, who is now a real life friend! And Lisa made me dance with her!

Everyone was dressed pretty low key, mainly jeans with a nice top.  Tara Hunt, on the other hand, arrived in her Halloween costume, a bumble bee!  I must admit, she was as cute as a bug!

The crowd was wonderful.  I truly wish I had the chance to meet everyone personally.  Everyone was friendly and fun with a great sense of humor!

I’ll be there next month, join me if you can!

To see more pics from the event, please visit my flickr photostream

So tell me, have you ever tried karaoke? If you did, what song would you sing?