Friday, June 29, 2007

Getting My Girl Geek On

This past Wednesday night was the inaugural Toronto Girl Geek Dinner. I've already written about it on the TGGD blog -- check it out!

As a more personal aside, I'm throwing off my carefully constructed mantle of jaded cynicism for a moment to note that I really found the evening very inspiring. Hearing Sandy Kemsley speak about the challenges she's faced and surmounted as a woman working in the male-dominated tech sector made me feel very lucky to have the position that I do, working in an industry (publishing) and at a company (Harlequin) that is populated with strong, smart females, from the front lines all the way up to the executive ranks. I'm also very lucky to work with a small, passionate team of extremely smart women who also happen to enjoy dishing about LiLo, TomKat, and reality TV, and admiring each other's shoes. :)

I'm really very psyched about the future Girl Geek Dinners and am excited about the opportunity to meet and network with more cool chicks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Getting my Geek On

Spent all day yesterday immersed in learning at the IAB Intensive, One-Day Course in Social Media, listening to the awesomely smart Mitch Joel inaugurate the uninitiated into the world of online social media and Web 2.0. Learned a few new things but mostly just enjoyed being entertained by Mitch (he is an amazing public speaker) and basked in the feeling of being among others who either Get It, or are willing to find out what It Is.

Contrast that with the frustrating conversation I had this morning with my mom and stepfather as they struggle to understand the new online space. My mom discovered one of my four blogs last week (ok, I know that four sounds excessive, but each has its purpose, I swear) and is both mystified by the amount of "private" information I've shared there and concerned about my privacy and my mental health. My stepfather is fond of snorting derisively and loudly dismissing bloggers as "freaks" and "lunatics", yet from what I can tell, he does nothing but read blogs all day. Go figure.

I've blogged in this very space before about my parents' Luddite tendencies, so I guess their reaction to my choices regarding embracing the new online social media is no surprise. This article tagged by Mitch Joel in his (thanks Mitch!) encapsulates the divide pretty well.

I could do without my stepfather's hypocritical pedantism though.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Second Life Encounter at BEA

So I'm at Book Expo America, strolling around the show floor and picking up galleys of this and that. I'm wandering aimlessly through the Wiley booth when a Wiley catalogue on display catches my eye. The cover of the catalogue shows two Second Life avatars and I swear that I know one of them. I check inside the front cover for a photo credit and sure enough, the avatar image is from the cover of this book and the avatar I recognize is fellow After a Fashion-ista Catherine Omega!

So I grab the catalogue and go racing off to tell someone, just as any excitable person would when they find out that an acquaintance's photo is on display. "Hey!" I say when I spy a friend. "Check this out, I know this girl!"

My friend levels her gaze at me. "Jen," she says as if talking to a crazy person, "this is a cartoon."

Is it odd that this didn't occur to me? I only know Catherine from SL and recognizing her avatar, whom I have "met" and interacted with was, to me, the same as recognizing a flesh-and-blood person. Does this make me weird or just hopeless?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Dragging publishing into the 21st Century

Just got back from Book Expo America in NYC. Ever the newbie, this was my first BEA (though not my first time in New York). I was hoping to come back inspired, filled with startling, fresh insights into how publishing can integrate Web 2.0 into the marketing and promotion of authors... But instead I learned that no-one really has any greater insights or ideas than anyone else. Either that, or those that have figured out Web 2.0 are closely guarding this info and won't share with others in the book industry. Shame.

On the plus side, there is a LOT of interest in digital media -- every session on this topic was jam-packed, and many of the meeting rooms reserved for these previously unpopular topics were beyond standing-room-only, with folks crowding the doorways trying to hear the speakers. So, people are starting to "get" the fact that Web 2.0 offers unprecedented marketing and promotion opportunities -- it's just that no-one has figured out how to really take advantage of that fact.

If you want to hear more about Book Expo, they offer a podcast, and many of the presentations and panels are recorded for this purpose. Just imagine yourself in a hot, stuffy, overcrowded room, press play, and it'll be almost like being there.