Hi, I'm Margie Newman. I blog about public relations, social media, careers, productivity and geek stuff.

Tin roof, rusted: a FlackRabbit pregnancy guide (Months 1-5)

Oh, the times I’ve preached to bloggers-to-be about the importance of regularly scheduled posting. Yet, weeks have gone by since my last FlackRabbit musing. I’m sorry.

I have a fabulous excuse though: I am making a tiny human. Squeal! I know, I know! And it’s a girl! Squeeeeee!

Indeed, the newest addition to Team Newman will arrive March 10-ish—which is like, tomorrow. Yikes. Yes, we are acutely aware this due date means we cannot attend SXSW Interactive. There’s always 2013…

Despite this awesome baby news that has taken over every fiber of my being, loyal FlackRabbiters need not worry: FlackRabbit will not become a mommy blog. I promise. I just wanted to publicly let you know that my blogging absence isn’t because I don’t love you; it is because I have been kind of busy trying not to vomit at work. Or I’ve been sleeping. I’ve also been preoccupied with red meat, oatmeal cream pies, sweet tea and Zulily.

Yet, in the spirit of “this is one of the only times I’m going to blog about pregnancy on my public relations blog,” please accept (or excuse) my tiny contribution to the Internet’s generous provision of resources for the first-time-pregnant, working gal: 

FlackRabbit’s Pregnancy Guide | Months 1—5

Read:

Alpha Mom’s Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty, by Amy Corbett Storch: I will not attempt to articulate its awesomeness, because I will fail.

Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine: laugh out loud funny and so very helpful—but not scary. Have now read it twice.

Pregnant Chicken: informative and hysterical. Plus, there are give-a-ways!

Buy:

A fun pregnancy iPhone app: although I have seven of them on my phone, this one by Smiles Factory is my favorite. I like this one, too, by OB on the Go; it has a fun hydration counter thingy.

This maternity pillow: girl, I know it’s $100; worth every freakin penny. Do it.

Dresses: lots of them. And this from the gal who likes to wear suits every day.  But about six weeks into your pregnancy, those fitted suit pants of yours will.not.button. And there is nothing as awesome as a cotton dress when you’re pregnant. Well, besides eating an entire bag of BBQ chips… Read More…

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SXSW 2011: so much better than SXSW 2009

There’s no shortage of SXSW Interactive 2011 “reviews.” Give it a Google; you’ll find all sorts of contradictory soap boxes, from SXSW has “jumped the shark” to O M G, it was “awesomesauce.”  Other than the mediocre panels, tsunami of street-marketers and QR codes, and an on-again-off-again AT&T 3G signal, three things about this year’s conference stand out:

1. We should all talk to strangers more. Seriously. It wasn’t the panels or keynotes that rocked my world, (could have skipped most of them, honestly) it was the limitless conversations with talented people. There were talkative geeks at every turn. And this wasn’t just a “shake hands and be on your way”-type of networking, these were hour-long talks where you walked away a smarter, more motivated person. I hated leaving before the closing party because I kept wondering not what, but WHO/WHOM, I’d miss.

2. You can solve your Meetup location crisis using only an iPhone and tha Twitter. About a week before the conference started, Dave had this great idea for us to declare a Meetup for DC-area folks attending SXSW Interactive. We called it DCxSW. He made a website; I filled out a Twitter profile, started a #DCxSW hashtag and got to spreading the word. We immediately saw a positive response from DC-ers, including retweets and offers to help.

The problem came about five hours before the event was to start, when I discovered that our venue, Shakespeare’s Pub, had been bought out by Maxim. Thanks, guys. But I didn’t have my laptop with me; Dave was at the hotel with the Team Newman iPad; all I had was an iPhone and a panicky feeling. How would I tell everyone? Where would we go?! Less than 10 percent of an iPhone 4 battery later, a new location at the Driskill Hotel bar was secured, the DCxSW Twitter profile edited and DMs and @ replies sent to every RSVPing person. Except Tod. Oops. Sorry, man. It really proved to me how powerful that tiny little Swiss Army Knife of a phone actually is. Oh, and 45 folks showed up! And Tod eventually found us.

3. The New York Times, Verizon and Quora need to have a frank talk with their marketing folks. I’ll sum this up this way: Read More…

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South by Southwest Interactive 2011: #winning

South by Southwest Interactive–the geeky stepchild of the acclaimed SXSW Music and Media Conference held each March in Austin–is just around the corner. By this time next week, we’ll be neck-deep in geek swag, product launches and free parties. The Team Newman system of taking every-other-year off seems to be working out quite well.

Scan me!

There’s a lot I’m looking forward to at SXSWi 2011: talking to strangers, karaoke, random Guy Kawasaki sightings, stickers, morning Yoga, and learning more about new stuff like QR code marketing, #hashable and Quora.

Fortunately, the actual conference lineup looks great, too. I’ve already got Offline America: Why Have a Digital Divide; Social Policies and Company Culture; and Nonprofits and Free Agents in a Networked World on my schedule.

If you’re headed down to Austin, too, let’s connect! If you’re not, take heart: if you follow the #sxswi hashtag on Twitter, you’ll be hearing and seeing everything we’re seeing in real time. Then, you can go online and watch the podcasts of each session. It will be like the real thing, only sans hangover and outrageous hotel bill! Read More…

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A March Madness of a Different Kind | Her Nashville

It’s that time of year again! For the geek and social media set, March means one thing: South by Southwest Interactive, or SXSWi for short. In this month’s issue of Her Nashville magazine, I share with you the new tech concepts and applications–including Quora and JumpScan–that I hope to learn more about next week. Here’s a teaser:

Quora:
The early adopter geek community is positively beside itself over this “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” Once you sign up for a free account at Quora.com, you can “follow” and start conversations about topics and questions (and relevant answers) of your choosing.

Quora was co-created by Charlie Cheever, a former engineer/manager at Facebook, and the goal of the site is to create a sort of collective, ever-expanding database of all knowledge. It sounds good to me, but I’m not yet sold on how non-spammy and useful it will actually be. Stay tuned; I’m sure Quora’s marketing and development folks will be out in full-force at SXSW this year.

JumpScan:
I’m not sure how practical or mainstream this technology will ever be, but I’m intrigued by new applications like JumpScan, which turns Quick Response (QR) Codes into virtual business cards. JumpScan is in Beta, so it is still working out the kinks, but the gist of it is this: sign up, create a profile, receive your personal bar code-type thing and post it on the Internet somewhere.When folks scan your code using a smartphone scan-reader like ScanLife, their phone’s browser will open up your profile, giving that person easy access to the information you chose to share (it is a much more streamlined process than I’m making it sound).

I’m newly fascinated with QR code technology and hoping I’ll discover more creative marketing and reputation management uses for it this year.

Read the full column here!

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See you there: South by Southwest Interactive 2011

As you know, Team Newman has had a crush on South by Southwest Interactive since 2006. We took 2010 off (the thought of attending one more Twitter-focused conference was too much for us) but will be back with geeky bells on this March.

They’ve got a list of confirmed (but subject to change) key notes and sessions here. Blessedly, this year there are plenty of great topics that do not revolve around Facebook and Twitter.

Are you going? If so, let’s connect over at SXsocial. Looking forward to meeting you–and to the Chris Brogan and/or Guy Kawasaki sighting(s), free beer, stickers and the sea of hooded-sweatshirt-wearing-Apple-toting geeks.

From the FlackRabbit Archives:

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Taking a SXSW Interactive break

Here's a shot of Team Newman in the wild at SXSW 2007. Many thanks to Joe Flood for the documentation.

This is the first year since 2006 that one or both members of Team Newman are not making an appearance at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi), the geek conference in Austin, TX.

It’s not that we haven’t loved it. Our SX adventures of yore enabled us to be among the first to try Twitter, discover Ze Frank, meet our good friend Joe Flood and give Gowalla a go. It also did wonders for our sticker collection. But after AT&T’s Great Network Failure of 2009, and attending one-too-many Twitter panels, we’re taking a break.

We wish many a Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki sighting, much fabulous swag and free beer to those thousands of social media guinea pigs in attendance. Have fun and consume tons of Stubbs BBQ for us!
Read More…

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SXSW Interactive: Day 5

Here's me putting OtherInbox's Mr. Spam in a headlock. This is what I want to do to Mr. AT&T.

Here's me putting OtherInbox's Mr. Spam in a headlock. This is what I wanted to do to Mr. AT&T, but he was a no-show at SXSW.

We did it! Team Newman survived the fifth and final day of South by Southwest Interactive. Not to be confused with the music portion, which starts today. Many of you emailed, Facebooked and Twittered me with great SXSW Music folks to check out…unfortunately, our geek lanyards don’t get us into those music venues. Sorry!

Anywho, Day 5 was great and included everything from getting work done, to tacos, to watching intoxicated dudes attempt to ride the mechanical bull. I managed to sneak in two SXSW panels, which is tough to pull off on the last day of any conference. I even wore red on St. Patrick’s Day in hopes of winning Gowalla‘s Flip Mino HD. No, (sigh) I didn’t win.

I really enjoyed the “Non-Profits: Be the Web You Wish to See!” panel with Stanley Jones of Diligent Creative. I was quite underwhelmed by the “Surviving Scandal” panel though. I think the gal knew what she wanted to say, just couldn’t find a way to say it. Her awkward struggle with public speaking made me very sad/uncomfortable/sorry for her so I had to get up and leave.

The Media Temple closing party was fabulous though; easily the most fun party we attended during our six days here. We had free grub and LoneStar and had a great time giggling at the bull riders.

All in all, it was a great experience. Though, this was the last SXSWi trip for Team Newman for a while.

When we first attended SX three years ago, it was much more intimate (say, 3,000 folks) than the SX of today. I love to think about 13,000 geeks in once place, but I don’t enjoy what a mass o’ tech-addicted laptop lovers does to AT&T and my iPhone. And it certainly wasn’t good for our hotel internet connection either. We always try to work, blog and write while we are here. With the massive internet and iPhone failure, we simply couldn’t do any of that. And that sucks.

Of course, none of that is the fault of the SXSW organizers. We’ve no issues with the festival itself. Still, we’ll be looking for the next, slightly smaller geeky gathering for 2010. Suggestions?

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