Untappd: A Social Network for Beer Snobs

I’ve been wanting to do app reviews on Imagine That! Studios alongside my bits of social media advice appearing there, but the first app I wanted to review really seemed more appropriate for my personal blog on account of the subject matter: beer. More to the point — living the lifestyle of a beer snob.

IMG_7501Untappd is a social network for those who love beer. It’s not just for beer snobs like me but for lovers of beer on all levels. Whether you are happy and content with your Budwiser or Miller Lite, or if you are an adventurer in sampling unique brews from across the country and around the world, Untappd connects beer lovers, breweries, and ice cold brewskis. At the core of the app are the reviews. When your first round arrives, you search for your beer in the Search bar across the top. Once you tap your beer, you select “Check-In” and are offered a field where you can type in a brief review (140 characters), add a photo of either what you are drinking (or who you are drinking with), rate your brew (and the slider allows for 1/2-star reviews), and add in your location. If you sync up your Twitter and Facebook feed with Untappd, you can send out your review and photos by tapping the Twitter and Facebook icons. On tapping “Confirm Your Brew” your review is shared online. The more reviews you share, the easier you can connect with friends on your respective social media networks.

UPDATE, 20 April, 2013: Untappd also recognizes cider and mead, so if you are more into those libations, you can find them in Untappd, or create your own custom entry. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Tee Morris on Blog Talk Radio’s Breakthrough Business

I’m starting to get my groove back (like Stella) in producing ideas, writing (seriously), podcasting, and playing with Sonic Boom. This road has been difficult (and no kidding, a blogpost is written, but I am not ready to drop it just yet. Bear with me…), but I’m taking everything one step at a time, one day at a time…

One of those positive steps is getting back into the interview circuit. Recently, Que Publishing contacted me concerning All a Twitter. The book is being featured again in Barnes & Noble Bookstores everywhere, and Que is hoping to get the first Twitter guide written from a user’s perspective (and when my byline says “written by Tee Morris” it means it!) into new readers’ hands. They asked me “Whatever you can do to get the word out…” and so I sent out a query to my Twitter networks.

Meet Michele Price. She queried me before I tweeted!

Michele is the host of Breakthrough Business, and on her BlogTalkRadio show we talk about Twitter, about my job at Intersections Inc, and about approaches that go against the grain of the marketing books. We talk about how “old school marketing” just doesn’t work with Social Media, and how businesses need to understand that Twitter (and Social Media, on a whole) is about people.

We had a blast on this interview, and there are more slated for the month. The geekier ones I’ll feature here, but if you want to hear more about the Social Media, take a trip to Imagine That! Studios for the full blogosphere-podosphere interview tour!

Litopia Daily: Tee Morris Staves Cabin Fever via Podcasting with Peter

The day after the Great #Snowpocalypse of 2009, I felt the walls closing in a bit…and the twins inviting me to play with them really wasn’t helping. Fortunately, saving the day was Peter Cox all the way from Central London when he rearranged his schedule to sit down, open up the mics, and talk with me about podcast fiction. Seems that Litopia has opened a floodgate in talking about podcasting, Social Media, and the modern writer, and Peter wanted to sit down with the guy that started it all.

If you don’t know Litopia, you should. Lipopia is  run by writers for writers. It’s a podcast, it’s a blog, it’s a forum. It’s an inside look and a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry, and what was supposed to be a fifteen minute podcast…well, we went a little longer…

Enjoy this bit of time travel through the history of podcast fiction, and looking at the present day and possible tomorrows of Social Media in the publishing industry.

Listen. Comment (here and at Litopia). Share.

The New Gig: What I’m Doing and How I’m Doing

IMG_0584With a whopping 42 comments to it (and as that is the big answer, I thought the time was right for this post…), I think it’s pretty much common knowledge by now that I got a new job. I didn’t really consider how quickly the wheels got rolling on getting me in there; but on retrospect, this place did not diddle around. I was offered the job on August 4, taught my final class on August 14, and then on August 17 I walked in, filed paperwork, went through the orientation, and was then literally thrown into the thick of it. I didn’t hit the ground running. I bitch-slapped the ground, made it call me a pretty girl, and had it beg for more when I was through with it.

And the really frightening bit? After a week, I’m still not sure how my voice mail works.

But what exactly is the job? I didn’t really go into detail on that in “Perseverance and Peter Gabriel” as that post was less about the job itself and more about the job hunt. Amidst the comments of congratulations and inspiration, a few of you have wondered “So what is this job you got?” I wanted to wait until I finished the first week before I shared details, and I’m glad I did. Last week was overwhelming, amazing, and eye-opening, on a lot of levels.

I was also beat at the end of every day. Slept a lot. Now, with some of the blur that was last week processed, here it is…

Intersections is a security firm, based out of Chantilly, VA. Since 1996, Intersections has dealt with credit history and digital identity protection. They are in the business of making electronic transactions, be they financial or personal, safer; and I have been hired as their Social Media Manager. (I’d like to point out that this job falls under Corporate Communications, not Marketing. That thrills me like you wouldn’t believe.) They were looking for someone who could not only apply Social Media, but understand the different initiatives out there and what they offer.

They were also looking for someone who could write. Yeah, I think I got that covered, too.

What I’m particularly excited about with this job is the angle Intersections takes with Social Media. Obviously, I’m being called upon to manage blogs, create podcasts, edit video (which I’m doing right now), and manage an outreach program with Twitter and (soon) Facebook; but I am also being asked to investigate and research security in Social Media, something I’ve touched on in Bird House Rules but only scratched its surface. On Friday, I was forwarded some news about Social Media from a security perspective and I was floored. The ironic bit is, that morning I was catching up with The SpyCast and listening to a fantastic interview with Dr. Terry Gudaitis who specializes in cyberintelligence gathering. (That’s the June 15, 2009 show if you’re interested.)

I feel as if I am starting all over again in Social Media, this time from a new perspective I hope Blogworld will let me speak on this year. I am officially on their schedule. I’ve confirmed “But Honey, It’s For the Studio” but am working to change topics concerning my second talk. So, if you’re at Blogworld this year, stop me and say “Hi.” It should be good fun in Vegas this October!

24497409

A cublicle in transition

So in the end, I am using my knowledge and background on Social Media for good, not for evil. While I will help in the promotion of what Intersections does, I will also be their on-call specialist in Social Media while I find out more about security matters with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, and the like. My brain has been firing on all cylinders since Day One, and I’m soaking it up like a thirsty sponge. The first week just blinked by, and I’ve not slowed down yet.

If you were wondering, though, how the day job will affect my writing, it will only make me more productive. Now that I know my hours, I can regiment and manage my time efficiently. I’m still writing for AppAdvice; and this weekend Pip and I completed the first draft of Books & Braun: Phoenix Rising, our Steampunk CSI peppered with hints of James Bond. I’m also planning to dust off Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and start working on that. I’ll give up details with an upcoming Survival Guide to Writing Fantasy…and yes, that will be its final episode.

It’s a long story and a hard decision concerning The Guide, and I’ll save the rest for that show.

My job at Intersections is now underway, and my writing is moving forward. From here, all that I have to face now are the possibilities.

Feeling the Love from across the pond!

In this picture are two people that I hold very dear in my life. One of them is my daughter. I will let you try and figure which one of them is her…

martyn_kiddo

The other “bloke” is Martyn Casserly, a journalist, an accomplished musician, and now he is an award-nominated podcaster with his one-minute Movie Mantras podcast. (Martyn is also a dad and a good mate to boot…although his opinions concerning the new Craig-Bond films and recent Doctor Who are completely wrong, but I digress…) With the many endeavors he had going, Martyn approached me this Spring to talk about an article he was penning on podcast authors. He was optimistic that Wired Magazine (UK) would pick up the column. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

This morning, I checked my Twitter stream and found this waiting for me:

My article about Podcast Authors is up on Wired ! @scottsigler, @sethharwood, @jchutchins, @teemonster all appear. http://bit.ly/Pv53w

Now live on the site, Wired Magagine (UK) picked up  “Novels by Podcast” where Martyn discusses how we authors are giving away our hard work in audio format for free. He also goes into the genesis of the podcast novel and why we do what we do.

“Giving away your stories isn’t a risk… it’s a competitive advantage,” explains Scott Sigler. “If a reader who’s never heard of me has $25 to spend and they’re looking at my book next to a Stephen King book, who are they going to choose? They take King. He’s a proven storyteller. But if King is $25 and my story is free they may try me out first. Why not? It’s no risk to them. If they like me, they buy me. If they don’t they buy King. Whatever happens the customer gets what the customer wants.”

It is a tight article covering successes and milestones; and while many who follow us on Twitter, on blogs, and through podcasts, may consider what we do “old hat” after four years, podcasting — and more importantly, podcasting fiction — is still a brand-spanking new concept to the mainstream market. Articles like Martyn’s and venues like Wired are getting the word out about what we are doing. That’s what is important here: getting people to listen.

Show Martyn appreciation by blogging about this article (and yep, I got it covered from the business perspective over at Imagine That!), syndicating his link in your feeds, dropping him comments on the article’s page, and talking it up on your podcasts. Let Wired know we’re paying attention and appreciate their support, and let Martyn know both on Twitter and on Wired that his words ring true.

Thanks, Martyn. Well done!

Perseverance and Peter Gabriel

joy

Today, I got a job.

Today, I got a full time job in Social Media.

While this sounds like something simple, the point I want to make, if I teach the world anything, is not to give up. Don’t give up.

Remember that song? There’s a darkness in that song, sure. I mean, hey, it’s Peter Gabriel. But there’s that optimism (voiced by Kate Bush), that assurance, you can make it through the storm.

I frakkin’ love that song.

People on Twitter and at KrakenQuest’s Great Reveal all knew I was having a tough time at this job hunt, but let me give you the run down that only a few have heard…

October 2007

First, there was actually dusting off the resume. I realized straight away there was a problem: I hadn’t done this in nearly ten years. I had no real experience, apart from my skills in the classroom. It amazed me how many people thought that would make me a valuable asset because I had the mad skills. InDesign, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, and so on and so on. This was going to be a piece of cake.

I knew better. Even with two books in podcasting under my belt, I knew I had a lot of knowledge, but not the experience that people would want. Still, I gave the resume an overhaul with the help and encouragement of Paul Fischer & Martha Halloway, and began the job hunt.

In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

February 2008

I was thrilled to connect with a headhunter that found me a client wanting someone knowledgable in Social Media. I went in for the first interview and made such a good first impression that one of the interviewers chased me to the elevator to say “Goodbye.” The headhunter prepped me, said I was close. One more interview. It was supposed to be with the president of the association. Well, okay then. The president and an associate? No problem. We set the time for a late afternoon, after a class; and I cut my class off early so I could make the 4:30 p.m. interview. I walk into the office and meet the president and two associates. Two? Well, okay then. Two. I proceed with the interview, the two associates just watching me and the president wanting me to regale her with tales of my theatre days. (Another blog post about that to come….) After being there for over an hour, the president of the association cuts me off and says “This isn’t going well.”

You could have heard a pin drop.

Continue reading

Stranger on a Train VII

The closer I get to New Zealand, the weirder my life becomes.

In the past two days I’ve received two interviews next week. Am I excited? Not sure. I don’t want to afford myself that luxury only to face another disappointment. What’s making one of the interviews partucularly intriguing is the woman in need of a Social Media Mr. Miagi actually found me in a LinkedIn search.

I’ll say that again: She came to me.

All this with less than two weeks to go fo rmy trip to New Zealand. I really wanted the days before Balticon to be stress-free. I really did.

My friend and fellow Fantasy-Comedic author, Christiana Ellis, is premiering “Nina Kimberly the Merciless” today, and it turns out her Uk Horde broke Amazon. You go, Nina!

My EalC — nearly done. At the rate I was going, I was going to crack the 10K mark, but I went back, made a few hard decisions, and now I’m aiming for 8500. I’ll have to see if there’s anything else to cut. Short stories are hard, Lt. Dan. The story has been a real blessing. It’s gearing me up for some other touch calls I’ll be making soon.

And tomorrow I get a new MacBook Pro, replacing my seven year old PowerBook workhorse. Seven years. “We have heard the chimes at midnight…the days we have seen…”

Considering the books I’ve written, the articles I’ve submitted, and the amazing things I’ve done on this machine, could it be possible I’ve gotten a little sentimental towards it?

Maybe.

TeeMonster on the Move!

tee-jumpPhoto by Kreg Steppe

Hey, everyone! I’m closing in on a pretty busy chunk of time, and it all starts next week. As you can see in the photo, I attempted to jump to New Zealand, get a head start on the travel. The only problem is this picture is taken at CREATE South 2009 in Myrtle Beach, so that puts me by the Atlantic.

Oh yeah, and while I got some serious hang time in the photo…my distance was FAIL!

Before I get into the schedule, I got good news on All a Twitter: the manuscript is now at the publisher and currently being prepped for printing. You can pre-order the book but keep an eye on Imagine That! Studios for latest developments on my latest book concerning Social Media, and get ready — I got something else coming this summer.

Oh yeah, and I’m nearly done writing my smut for Chef Pip. I really am a naughty boy.

Now, here’s my upcoming schedule. This is where I will be:

May 22-25
Balticon 43 in Hunt Valley, MD

May 29-June 1
Conscription in Auckland, New Zealand

June 2
ANTI-Social Media, presented for LIANZA, 12pm-2pm
Room 420 Kate Edgar Information Commons Building #315
2 Alfred Street, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

All a Twitter, presented for LIANZA, 3pm-5pm
Room 420 Kate Edgar Information Commons Building #315
2 Alfred Street, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

June 3
Social Media Mainline Workshop for LIANZA, 9am-5pm
Computer Lab Room 433, Kate Edgar Information Commons Building #315
2 Alfred Street, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

June 6 (JUST ADDED!!!)
Podiobooks: The Best Audiobooks FOR FREE Online for Tararua District Library, 1pm-2pm
Dannevirke, New Zealand

June 15
ANTI-Social Media, presented for LIANZA, 12pm-2pm
Seminar Room, Reserve Bank of NZ
2 The Terrace
Report at ground floor reception no later than 11.45am
Wellington, New Zealand

All a Twitter, presented for LIANZA, 5pm-7pm
Conference Room, Department of Conservation
18-32 Manners Street
Report at ground floor reception no later than 4.45pm
Wellington, New Zealand

June 16
Social Media Mainline Workshop for LIANZA, 9am-5pm
SOLD OUT (Waiting List available)
Computer lab 510, Level 5, WelTec Wellington Campus
11-17 Church Street (off Boulcott Street)
Wellington, New Zealand

June 17

Speak Geek to Me, for Te Papa Tongarewa: The Museum of New Zealand, 10am-12pm
Location: TBA
Wellington, NZ

If you are in New Zealand and looking for a primer on Social Media, you can still sign-up for the Auckland workshop. I could not be more excited about this upcoming trip the Land of the Great White Cloud…

18.5 hours on a plane…AFTER I fly from DC to San Fran. Whoofah!

Next time we talk, I’ll be in the Southern Hemisphere. See you on the other side of the world!

Flutter…the Next Big Thing! *LOL*

This morning, I completed the ninth chapter of All a Twitter, but I may have to reconsider everything — and I mean, everything — and call up Que Publishing to renegotiate the book we agreed I would write.

This is going to be the next big thing in Social Media, and I want to write the first book on it!

Say hello to “Flutter.”

My editor at Que reads this blog, so let me say I’M JUST KIDDING!!! Seriously. I’m three chapters from wrapping up, and you think I want to do a rewrite from the beginning?!

Been there, done that, got a tee shirt, and I had said tee shirt ripped off me when the publisher tried to stiff me out of the advance.

I am hoping with where I’ve seen this video mentioned on Twitter that it goes viral on an apedemic scale. This is some funny, funny stuff. Consider me the first in line for “Sttr” and a pair of “Flutter Eyes.”

Write, or Go Home!

As you may know by now (provided you subscribe to Imagine That!, or follow either of my Twitter accounts), I’m working on a new book: All a Twitter, from Que Publishing. I’ve seen the tweets and also taken some heat from other DC consultants (and here’s a shock – these consultants are NOT on Twitter, but will give an opinion nevertheless…) concerning books about Twitter. I am still very optimistic, nay confident, nay cocky, that All a Twitter will be unlike the other books hitting the shelves between now and the summer.

For starters, my book will be written from a user’s perspective. Other titles (that I am aware of) are being written by people in Marketing, meaning the underlying intent of these books will be “This is the way you leverage Twitter in order to monitize your Social Networking experience.” I could go on a tear about that…another time. This isn’t what my rant is about. It’s concerning another quality of this future book.

All a Twitter will say on the cover “by Tee Morris” meaning the book will be written by me.

This is what my rant is about.

My revelation that people claiming to be writers but in fact are not writing books even though their names are on the cover, started at the beginning of the year. In a social setting over good food and good wine, the subject turned to how much work goes into a book. I pulled from my own experiences with the For Dummies crew, which really blew away those at the table. I told them the breakneck schedule of writing computer books was not uncommon. That was when I turned to another author, one I had just met that had written a book on Twitter. I asked the author “How long did it take you to write your book on Twitter?”

The author looked at me as if I had asked the question using the Lothlorien Elvish dialect. The (self-proclaimed) best-selling author scoffed and said, “I didn’t write the book.”

“But your name is on the title?” I asked.

“Yeah, it is, but I didn’t write the book.” The author then told me, with an alarming amount of pride, “I went to my network on Twitter and asked my followers what they wanted in the book. They wrote what they wanted, I took what they sent in, and put it together.”

Say what?!

Yes, I know, ghost writing is nothing new. Happens all the time. You have people helping others behind the scenes (as Wikipedia states with Alan Dean Foster writing the novelization of Star Wars, but handing credit to George Lucas), so I know that bylines may not always be as honest as they should be. Where I call “Shenanigans!” is when the books in question are “How To” books.

When you pick up a “How To” book and look at the title’s byline, you make a strong assumption if not conclusion that its author is an authority on the subject matter. How much confidence, then, would you have in an author if they were to tell you they farmed their work out to other experts, and then granted it a cursory eye once it came in? So let’s set the scenario: An author, based on their expertise and a proposal they have put together, is hired to write a book. Instead of researching their expertise further and actually writing the manuscript, these authors-under-contract have others write sections or chapters for them. They then shape the content in a fashion that fits their own needs, and then send off to the publisher the material under their name, not the individual who actually wrote the chapter.

Allright, that doesn’t make you a writer. That makes you an editor. An Acquisitions Editor. Barely. This was a similar process I followed as an Acquisitions Editor for Ben Bella Books’ So Say We All with one major difference: The individual chapters all carried the author’s bylines so you knew who wrote that particular essay.

When I agreed to write All a Twitter, Que Publishing sent me a list of guidelines and this is their standing on Citations:

Such use should be limited. Readers are paying for a book that shares your practical experience of the subject and they expect that the material in the book has not been published before.

“Readers are paying for a book that shares your practical experience…” Huh, what a concept!

The business behind “not-really-writing-a-book” I also have to wonder about. At Jeff Pulver’s Social Media Breakfast in Washington DC, I mentioned that I had just taken on All a Twitter. One of the attendees asked me “So you’re actually writing the book?” It turns out he was approached to write a chapter for another Twitter book being produced this year. His reply to the offer was “What’s in it for me?” A valid question, seeing as he wouldn’t have a byline in the final published work. The “author” of this Twitter guide didn’t reply to his query.

What. A. Shock.

These “smoke-and-mirror writers” take questionable business tactics one step further as, with byline under their belts, they bill themselves as experts and sell seminars to conventions, expos, and special events. Money – in some instances, big money – is now exchanging hands. I’m not sure who makes me angrier: the people claiming to be authors and taking credit for work that isn’t theirs, or the organizers of these events who don’t take a few minutes before planning their schedules to evaluate a speaker’s street cred. When you carry around on your blog, website, or resume a publishing credit, there is a measure of trust involved that a book carrying your name on it was written by you. I doubt if I could sleep soundly betraying that trust because I believe in the “Put Up or Shut Up” ethic. If a book is going to carry my name, I’m going to be the one held accountable for it so I’m going to make sure the words are truly my own.

Chances are, with this blogpost, I’ve effectively painted a bulls-eye on All a Twitter, and on anything else with my name on it. Critics, nay-sayers, and maybe a few guilty will hold my work under a magnifying glass. And you know something? I’m okay with that kind of attention because I can stand by what I write. Oh, I did ask for some help here and there, but you can be assured those who helped me out will be given salutations and citations.

You can also be assured that when a book says “by Tee Morris” on it, that is the truth. So keep an eye out for All a Twitter this summer. It’s written by Tee Morris.

Seriously. It is.