Author Archives: Adam Jackson

By Adam Jackson

Social Calendario Parties

Throughout Fall and Winter of 2008, Silicon Valley prepared and readied itself for the fallout. In late September, things started falling apart, VCs tightened their belts and the money dried up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I’m not going to write what has already been written on the very delicate system that is Silicon Valley. What I would like to talk about is parties. I’ve been dubbed “The Party Guy” by many but lately, there hasn’t been a party. I’ve been working later at the office and getting a solid 7 hours of sleep every night. It’s been pretty difficult and I’ve missed seeing the faces, the flashing DSLRs and free drinks.

Since September through the end of December, things felt normal. Parties still happened, traveling across the US to attend barcamps was still the norm and people were still putting things on the AMEX and ignoring the fact that layoffs were happening all around them. Well, it’s January of 2009, exactly 4 months to the day that the Wall Street fallout happened and the fun has come to an end.

When I first moved to San Francisco, early next year, I couldn’t decide what events to attend. Four events a night at least were on my plate with many smaller events that were just meetups. Over at SocialCalendario, I’m stretching to find events and most of them are meetups, drinkups, tweetups and more intimate affairs. Who is affected?

We are. The community is affected. Connections, networking, deals and general conversations are handicapped when the face to face isn’t happening. I rely heavily on in person interaction and it was more than schmoozing but a chance to meet the dreamers, inventors and share ideas. Saving money is great and I’m on the team that looks at Web 2.0 and says, “the bubble had gotten too big” but I also feel that interaction and conversations must continue for innovation to really blossom. Parties, barcamps and conferences act as fertilizer and help to cultivate big ideas.

I propose we step it up a bit. Let’s organize more open source events around happy hours and co-working spaces. More Tuesday meetups of like minds at 21st Amendment and hour long mixers at Citizen Space / PariSOMA where we get one startup to spend $75 on a keg and we meetup to chat. The parties and events still need to happen but on a smaller scale.

Two events just popped up on my radar which I think will be a lot of fun.

BaconCamp is “an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment about bacon”
LaidOffCamp is “an ad-hoc gathering of unemployed & self-employed people (including entrepreneurs and startups) who want to share and interact with each other.”

These two events are great but there’s no reason an event like this can’t happen every weekend. There are great venues out with open minded owners that support these kind of gatherings and there are people like me who will help out any way we can to bring people together. The party isn’t dead, it just has to evolve and for the sake of innovation, it’s best that we keep drinking and keep thinking.

You can contact me via my website, blog or Twitter.

By Adam Jackson

choosinganame

This is an unedited excerpt from my upcoming book project that is still unnamed. You can follow the book’s progress at 140 characters.com.

Choosing your username is very important depending on what you plan on doing in the twitterspehere. Individuals who frequent social networks and have many logins or have built up their own brand on Twitter, will go with a name that they use on every other network. I use AdamJackson on every network as the default username. Other users have aliases that they use everywhere. Where things get complicated is when you are going to use Twitter for business and then choosing a name becomes a little challenging.

There are some factors when choosing a Twitter username that you need to keep in mind. One of those is the length of the name. The name needs to be as short as possible for a couple of reasons. First, if someone wants to reply to a tweet, having a long name will mean that their reply of 140 characters will be affected because your username “@my-really-complicated-name” just consumed a great portion of the typing space. A short name like “@dom” or “@t” means there is more room for the person to write their reply.  The second issue with having a long or complicated username is the issue of spelling your name when they are interested in viewing your twitter replace or manually typing your name into their cell phone when trying to reply. Avoid using a lot of hyphens, uncommon spellings and of course keeping the length down.  There have been situations when I wanted to direct message someone via my mobile phone and typing in “@ipwn_mst$r” into my phone is just too time consuming so I’m less likely to send that person a reply.

This book won’t help you decide what username to pick but I can offer some basic suggestions when it comes to picking a username when joining a social network. Generally, your first and last name will do as a username. If your name is John Smith then your name might already be taken but uncommon names usually aren’t used. Why not use an alias? It’s fine to use an alias or nickname but “applepimp101” takes away some intimacy and you’re hiding behind a mask. I always encourage people to use their real names and here’s another reason. Google Page Rank is something everyone is fighting for and Twitter can really help. By Twittering as AdamJackson for the past year, a search for my name will result in links to my Twitter page above other people by the same name. When I apply for a job, it’s not “applepimp101” applying for that job and I want employers to find my Twitter account because they can see the real me. If you’re Twittering about things that should remain secret then by all means choose a name that keeps your identity secret but if it’s just day to day things about you then using your real name is the most widely adopted way to become a part of social networking. Of note, you can change your Twitter name anytime via settings so don’t stress too much on the name choosing session.

If this Twitter presence will be an extension of your business then it’s a little more complicated. Will you be tweeting as the business for the purpose of interacting with customers or will be you tweeting as an employee of this company and mixing personal & professional thoughts onto Twitter? If the boss has asked you to join Twitter for the sake of interacting with customers and increasing brand recognition then create a Twitter account that matches the company name. Try to keep it small. Of course, it’s in your best interest to not Twitter too many personal thoughts when Tweeting as your company. We’ll go into this a little later because this has gotten some employees in trouble. If you’ll be Tweeting day to day things and mixing in company tweets then join as yourself and mention that you work for this company in your bio on Twitter.

Carefully choose your name because there are a few factors involved. Short, simple and relevant names garner the most attention from other Twitter users.

You can find more about 140 Characters on my website, via Twitter and my personal Twitter account.

by Adam Jackson


Source

This is an unedited excerpt from my upcoming book project that is still unnamed. You can follow the book’s progress at 140 characters.com.

Twitter is an awesome conversational tool. Twitter is not a replacement to e-mail, instant messaging or a phone call and this is what makes Twitter so ideal for making connections. However, if you don’t master how to interact over the service, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Twitter has helped individuals in a few ways:

- Solve a problem or answer a question.
- Get ideas for where to go for dinner
- Helpful info about where the party is
- Finding a new job
- Helping a customer who is having problems

There are so many ways that Twitter can benefit people but most of these things happen through a conversation. Learning to master this will help you tremendously. There are a few things that we’ve already gone over but I will highlight them again:

- Don’t treat twitter like a chatroom
- Make each post, whether it be a thought or reply, unique and meaningful
- Bring up the people that are new to Twitter
- Remember the ratio  and don’t post more replies than unique posts
- Don’t be afraid to take the conversation to direct message or Email

In order to master the conversation, you must be able to come to a resolution in no less than 4 tweets. Tweet #1 is the original post.  #2 is a person’s reply and #3 / #4 is one more back and forth. After that, you’re putting things in the timeline that will cause you both to lose followers and the conversation really should be taken to direct message or another medium. If I see someone’s updates coming to my phone that are always replies to a conversation I’m not involved with, I will un-follow that person. If two people in the timeline are going back and forth for half an hour, I usually do a quick tweet in a joking manner asking them to take it to email or DM (direct message).

You must be unique and meaningful. If you’re not, people won’t care what you have to say and a conversation will never occur. Here are some examples of posts that will never receive a reply no matter how many people are following you.

- My computer just froze up
- Traffic sucks today
- Hmm it’s raining
- I’ve never liked country music or jazz.
- Who’s using the new iPod software?

Let’s look at those same posts reworded a bit and it will spark a thought in your mind and a reply.

- 2nd time this week my computer froze up. Maybe it’s the latest software update.
- Anyone heading north on 280 into SF that’s stuck in traffic *raises hand*
- First time all month that it rained and I don’t have an umbrella!
- Why does this club insist on playing music that I just don’t like? Country music is great but not for me.
- A new iPod software update came out last week. Anyone having problems?

Let’s say you post the third example regarding rain and 4 people reply. You can’t reply to all of these so, instead a reply to one of them with something witty and follow that with a tweet that recognizes the replies you did receive.

Here are replies that you get following the post #3:

- Amitchell: totally, that happens all of the time. I always have an extra shirt.
- Mross: I haven’t seen rain in a month either
- Surferdude: it’s been raining every day here in SoCal.
- Larrygee: You’re dumb for not having an umbrella. I hate your posts.

First of all, there’s an old saying, “don’t feed the trolls” and this is extremely important. Trolls are individuals who are constantly cruising various websites with an opportunity to comment on something off topic or something damaging. Ignore them and that’s the only rule you need. By replying to larrygee, you’re bringing attention to him and only fueling what will be a reply war back and forth. Simply ignore it in your mind or open his profile and click “block” next to his name so he’ll never show up again.

Of the other 3 replies I’d do a single reply to one of these individuals by saying, “@amitchell Totally! The extra shirt is a good idea so I won’t always be lugging around an umbrella.” The next part is completely optional. It’s up to you whether to ignore the other two posts or post a message that says, “looks like I’m not the only one with rain comments. It looks like @mross and @surferdude are too.” Now you’ve ignored the trolls, made a reply and posted something unique that gets them some linkage and possibly some more followers but it also shows them that you saw their message and didn’t just ignore it. It’s like writing a letter and never getting a response.

Oh but wait. Now, Amithcell is responding back to you again. Now is a time to cut it off. If the response is captivating enough that you want to continue the conversation, send them a direct message but don’t keep the conversation going. Talking back and forth about the rain is going to bore everyone that’s following you or Amithcell. It would be nice for Twitter to have a chat feature but they don’t so you’re forced to use direct messages.

You can find more about 140 Characters on my website, via Twitter and my personal Twitter account.

Holiday Party Flyer!

In my last post, I stressed the importance of holiday parties during these tough economic times and how to cut costs to make the party a reality. That blog post ended with this teaser, “There’s another upcoming party from yours truly that I’ll make sure to tell you about in a few days.” The party is now officially happening and I’m so pleased to announce it here on Bub.blicio.us!

Tis the season to celebrate with friends and family. It’s also the season for Silicon Valley to explode with holiday parties. Things are a little different this year so Yoono and Sun teamed up with some friends so we could bring you the Holiday Bailout Party.

Thanks to co-sponsorships from Sun Microsystems, JS-KIT, and Red Stripe we will be offering up free food drinks at Harlot on Monday, December 15th.

Come early and stay as late as you want. The DJ will be spinning dance music with a holiday theme, food will be passed and depending on if you’re naughty or nice, the drinks will keep flowing.

Glide Church is a great organization offering help to families in San Francisco so we want to do all we can to help them. You’ll receive one drink ticket for each unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item you bring to the party. Glide provides food for SF residents in need 365 days a year, as well as toys for children who will go without at Christmas. You can learn more at Glide.org

Future-Works and Bub.blicio.us will be upstairs conducing interviews and taking photos. Justin.TV will be streaming live from Harlot to the web.

After 9PM, Harlot stays will open to the public and we encourage all party guests to stick around and celebrate the holidays in style.

Come early, raise a glass to the holiday season and get down to some rocking festive beats. Don’t forget to bring a non-perishable food item or toy. This party is open to EVERYBODY so invite all of your friends.

I’m doing all that is possible to raise money, toys and food this holiday season for Glide Memorial Church. Their contributions to this community are huge and I encourage all party attendees to bring a contribution.

RSVP on Facebook (link) and invite all of your friends. This party you can’t miss.

by Adam Jackson


Credit: Brian Solis

This year, the consensus was that there wouldn’t be any holiday parties or we would simply see a lot less. I’ve followed the Silicon Valley tech scene for a number of years and I remember the big parties – the parties with ice sculptures and rock bands. I remember when every event was open bar and catered. Ah, those were the good days.

The idea that holiday parties will be non-existent this month is incorrect. In fact, there are still plenty of parties going on. I’m adding 3-5 new parties every day to SocialCalendario. What I’m noticing is that these parties are drastically smaller than previous years. It’s easy to throw a holiday party for your employees, their families and for your users.

The first step is to cut the extras – no live bands, no performers of any kind. Every Silicon Valley geek loves a clown making balloons, but that’s an expense that isn’t feasible right now. You still have to offer something for free though. Music is a must and it’s best to make the alcohol free. It doesn’t have to be free all night and you don’t have to do an open bar. Drink tickets are a great way to budget the alcohol for a party and limiting guests to beer and wine will help save money.

Be very careful because however. Most venues have bar guarantees. Some venues will let you rent for free but then ask for $7500 in alcohol be sold that evening. It’s not impossible, but 50 employees can’t drink that much. Oh, but there’s another option too. Holding an event at a restaurant is great! Many restaurants have a full bar, will let you rent out a space and will allow you to setup some music either pre-recorded or a DJ as long as it isn’t too loud. The restaurant usually won’t have a minimum bar guarantee and won’t throw on fees like a venue would.

Let’s say your startup just started making money or you just scored a large round of funding. In economic times like these, where even Google is toning down its holiday party, it’s important to not stand out too much. Stand out with an excellent product or with adoption numbers but standing out by throwing a huge amount of cash into a sculpture of your company’s logo is not the right way to go about it even if the sculpture was donated.

Everyone is expecting small parties this year and that’s what we’ll have. I’ll simply be attending more of them instead of waiting for the big one. If you must attend a party this month, SFNewTech is up there.

Holiday Party 2.0 is another must attend. There’s another upcoming party from yours truly that I’ll make sure to tell you about in a few days. Any questions, hit me up on Twitter or Email and I’ll be happy to direct you in the right direction for planning a party or finding the right one to attend.

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