Texas Social Media Awards 2010

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

On Sunday, March 14th the Austin-American Statesman held the 2nd annual Texas Social Media Awards during SXSW. Celebrating folks who in one way or another have made an impact in their communities or industries with Social Media. I am honored to have been recognized. In the judges words,

“Jennifer is driving the social media space in San Antonio. It’s rare that you find an event in the city that hasn’t been organized or touched by her in some way.”

My thanks to everyone for being part of this incredible journey. Who knew back in 2005 when the community building around the new media space began that it would evolve to this level? Not me. Folk ask me how I got involved in community building and I always go back to my start in podcasting in 2005. My need to talk face-to-face with other folks who were just as excited and passionate about podcasting as I was led me to create the San Antonio Podcasting Meetup. I have my wonderful husband, John aka @designminded to thank for the idea to start that first group. From there it led to the first Podcamp in the State of Texas and so on. There have been many people who motivated and inspired me to “do a camp”: Michael De Leon spurred on PodCamp San Antonio. Erica O’Grady inspired me to have a Startup Weekend . Whurley, Giovanni and Cody Marks Bailey encourage me to have a Barcamp. It was the persistent Connie Reece who guided me through the process of launching a local Social Media Club Chapter and Bryan Person who thought it might be a good idea if San Antonio had a Social Media Breakfast chapter. These folks inspired, encouraged and mentored me through the process of community building. I hope to have done so to others in turn.

They say no man or woman is an island and that has never been more true than when it comes to social media and community building. I am extremely proud of the robust, thriving and giving community we have in San Antonio. It is certainly indicative of what I have found in other parts of the state and country. The commandments of camp is: “Learn, Share, Grow” and the motto of Social Media Club is “If you get it, share it”. The key word in this is  SHARE. I truly believe that as long as we as a community keep this in mind in all of our endeavors we will continue to see success that is beneficial for all.

At heart of it all. I am thankful. So, I will end this post as I started it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Things I’m Doing, The Places I’ll Be

If you’ve ever taken the time to look on the right side of my blog, you’ll see the section titled, “The Things I’m Doing, The Places I’ll Be”.  I started using this a few years ago in response to folks asking me, “What do you have coming up?” Since not everyone can keep track of my tweets, it made sense to have a place that folks could easily discover the various events I may be organizing, attending or presenting. It is a mixed bag of all three.

Today, tomorrow and next week are going to be a hot bed of activity for me:

Thursday, March 4th 9:30-10:30am Speaking at Innote6ch San Antonio about Social Media for Business

Friday, March 5th 10:00-11:30am Hands on session at RISE Austin

Tuesday, March 9th Houston-bound with the MoveforFREE team for their “On the Move” tour to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.

Thursday, March 11th 6:30-9:30pm Social Media Club at SeaWorld San Antonio’s new “AZUL: Lure of the Sea” show.

Friday, March 12th – Tuesday March 16th I’ll be attending South by Southwest Interactive aka SXSW (Look for some Tech in Twenty videos)

Wednesday, March 17th 7:30-900am Social Media Breakfast San Antonio

Friday, March 19th-Sunday March 21st South Texas Bike Show

In between all of that look for weekly Tech in Twenty SV shows which are released every Friday morning.

Still not sure you can keep up with this highly caffeinated social gal? Well you could always follow me on Twitter @epodcaster or catch some of my presentation session videos on Ustream

I am including the embed video of today’s sessions inside the Social Media Lounge sponsored by my company, Brewing Media

Streaming video by Brewing Media on Ustream.tv

Running image by Petr Kratochvil

The Other Half Time Show

A group of geek musicians got together for an impromptu jam session after Tweetcamp San Antonio in July 2009. Since this all started because of Twitter, they decided to call themselves the Twitter Jam Band. This ad hoc group got together to play several times during 2009. Members would vary depending on who showed up.

The idea for The Other Half Time Show was conceived during a conversation between Alan Weinkrantz and Jennifer Navarrete at a luncheon. To live web stream the Twitter Jam Band during the SuperBowl seemed like a crazy idea. The decision to pair up this event as a fundraiser for Holly Julian was what turned the idea into a reality.

Holly Julian has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or C.O.P.D. (4th largest killer in US) and is raising funds to help pay for anticipated out of pocket expenses for her much needed double lung transplant. Holly’s husband, Steve, is a member of the Twitter Jam Band which is why this was a natural fit. Their fundraising goal is $100,000. Thus far they have raised $20,000 through bake and plant sales, silent auctions and other community events. Our hope is that The Other Half Time Show Benefit Concert can go a long way towards raising the remaining $80,000.

We are asking folks to “Share. Watch. Donate.”

SHARE this by stumbling, blogging, tweeting, facebooking and talking to your friends and network about this event. Direct folks to http://theotherhalftimeshow.org

WATCH us on Sunday, February 7, 2010 as the Twitter Jam Band performs 3 songs during The Other Half Time Show. The performance will begin 5 minutes after The Who are done with the Super Bowl Half Time Show.

DONATE the cost of a day or week or month’s worth of lattes or more to Holly Julian through the National Foundation of Transplants http://www.transplants.org/donate/hollyjulian

You can find out more about Holly Julian at Hugs4Holly http://hugs4holly.org

Organizers for this event are:

Alan Weinkrantz | Jennifer Navarrete | John Navarrete | Luis Sandoval

Texas Social Media Awards: I’ve Been Nominated!

In case you missed all the hubbub surrounding the Second Annual Texas Social Media Awards put on by the Austin-American Statesman, here is a breakdown:

• Nominations are open to any resident of Texas
• Nominees are listed and commenting is open for judges to consider
• Judges pick top 25
• Winners are announced at SXSW

There are many amazing social media mavens in the nomination list. The list is worth a long look. As the title to this post states, “I’ve been nominated!” <–Many thanks to the fine folks who put me in the running. I am honored to be included alongside folks I look up to as well as many of my friends.  The judges will announce the top 25 nominees by March 3rd and winners will be announced at the awards ceremony during SXSW on March 14th.

Gordan Hartman interview at Morgan’s Wonderland Park

Jennifer interviews Gordan Hartman after the tour of Morgan’s Wonderland Park.

Social Media Club San Antonio was invited for a sneak peek tour of the under construction facility. This one of a kind park is designed for children and adults with special needs to enjoy outdoor recreation with family and friends.

Picture of Shelley Cook @shelleyrae, Gordan Hartman @ghff and Jennifer Navarrete @epodcaster

Mobile post sent by jennifer using Utterli. reply-count Replies.  mp3

NaPodPoMo 2009

I have written this post on my NaPodPoMo blog and here. Unfortunately it was eaten up in both places by the blogging gods. (insert conspiracy theory music here)

So instead of trying to rewrite the entire lengthy post, I’m doing aretro microphone over white condensed version.

Here are the highlights:

My theme for this year’s National Podcast Post Month is going to focus on interviews. You may be asking yourself, “Who is Jennifer going to interview?” The answer my fine podcasting friends is YOU!

That’s right, I am looking for a few good podcasters to spend some time with over the next 30 days. Today I am starting with me. Yeah, I know. Kinda weird. But I wanted to lay the ground work for what I hope will be a peek inside the minds of the podcasters who make up National Podcast Post Month. Join me in the fun!

Cheers,
Jennifer Navarrete
“who isn’t afraind of the big bad blog post eating gods” 😛

The Social Media Scrooge

ScroogeWe have all seen them or more likely we have all heard them. They are the folks who make a face whenever we talk about our Twitter friends. Roll their eyes when we share Facebook stories. They are also the folks who will tell you that real business doesn’t happen when you waste time on the social networks.

Are they wrong?

Yes and no.

Yes, if your employees are playing Mafia Wars instead of filling out that all important TPS report. No, if the connection they make from a Twitter post (tweet) gets them a phone or face-to-face appointment with a potential client.

Yet, how can someone be convinced of the merit of adding social media to their business? One way is to introduce case studies and offer examples of social media gone right. Zappos, Comcast and Dell spring to mind. Take a real world example that you personally have done to showcase the effectiveness of social media. Whether that was a form of communication, customer service or promotional tool. Another option is to have them attend industry specific events where the topic of social media is being addressed.

I am often asked to speak to groups about the practical use of social media. While I have shared how much I enjoy watching light bulbs go off during a session, I’ve never talked about what it’s like to watch a Social Media Scrooge “get it”.

They are typically successful business owners. They also know that if they keep hearing something over and over again, they should pay attention. They usually walk in with a determined look on their face. They may or may not chat with folks beforehand. They are there, but probably feel they could have spent their time more productively.

It is apparent to me that this person is there because they keep getting told they need to “do social media”. They have no idea what that means, not sure if it is relevant for their business and feel that overall it is a waste of time. If we go back to the previous Yes and No explanation above, they may or may not be right. However, if they do not take the time to at least have a cursory understanding of what social media is, how can they make a fair judgment? So, the Social Media Scrooge will attend an event to find out for themselves.

What I have found is that one of the best ways to cut through the jargon and buzz words that are inherent in social media is to relate everything back to traditional terms. For example, when I talk about new media podcasts and live online audio streaming I quickly compare it to traditional radio programs and talk shows. The Social Media Scrooge understands radio and will nod their head. When I tell them that one of the biggest differences between the two is that podcasts and online audio are instantly archived and available to an entire connected global audience. Their eyes widen in understanding just a bit.

The session continues and by the end there is that moment when the light bulb goes off.  The former Social Media Scrooge now has an understanding of the basics of what social media is and an idea of how it just might be a powerful part of their business.

If you know someone who is a Social Media Scrooge, consider sending them to spend some time with me at the Technology Connexus Hi-Tech Mixer on Thursday, September 10th from 5:30-8pm.

image by striatic

Healthcare Reform Live Webcast

Live Webcast for Online CommunityOne of the best things about Social Media is the ability to join the conversation. This works for us in that we can participate in events that are happening anytime and anywhere regardless of location.

Bringing the outside world in and vice versa. Even if we can’t be there physically, we can be there virtually. We live stream our monthly meetings and Camps so folks all over the globe can be a part of what we are doing in San Antonio, TX.

It’s always been my vision to take the knowledge and use of the online tools to folks outside of the early adopter and geek crowd. For me, it’s a no-brainer to add the online component to any event. It’s always been my opinion, “If it’s worth having the event, it’s worth streaming.”

So you can imagine how pleased I am to be part of the team that is bringing the hot-button topic of Healthcare Reform to  the online community. On Saturday, August 29th at 10am a webcast of “The Third Rail of Health Reform: Cost” will go live. From the comforts of home, you can watch the discussion as it unfolds. Even better, online participants can submit questions for morning and afternoon panelists to answer.

How awesome is that?!

Social Media is changing the way things are done. I believe the ability to have a live and virtual audience participate in an event like this is groundbreaking. I hope this is a stepping stone for how future hot-button topics are discussed.

Feel free to send me leave me your thoughts in the comment box or you can always reach me on Twitter.

Tubing on the Comal River

If you’ve spent any time at all in the Texas Hill Country during the summer months you’ll hear folks talk about “tubing”. As in, “Hey, you wanna join us? We’re going tubing this weekend.” Before you shake your head and wonder about the mental state of folks in Central Texas, let me explain the concept of tubing. First of all, let’s start with a picture of a “tube”.

tube

Now that we know what a tube is we can delve even deeper into a condensed and abbreviated definition:

“Free-floating tubing often takes place on rivers and streams. The tube riders are conveyed by the current of the water. People paddle with their hands to steer while groups of tubers often rope their tubes together creating a large floating group. This generally slows down the float but allows the group to pass food and drink around. Longer expeditions often include tubes mounted with coolers for food and beverages.”

So in other words tubing looks like this:

tubers1

I’ve lived in San Antonio since 2003 and almost from the beginning I would hear folks talk about tubing. I had a vague sense of what it was, but it wasn’t until I actually went tubing that I truly understood the attraction.

Up until recently my floats have been on the wild and untamed Guadalupe River. However, this year because of low rainfall and drought conditions we decided to give the Comal River a try. Let me tell you it was love at first site and by the time I was floating down river, I was hooked!

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

Start off by stopping at one of the local River Outfitters. You can bring your own tube and manage a two car drop off/pick up plan. In my time as a tuber, I have been very happy using the services of the River Outfitters. In doing so, I am supporting the local economy while making my float experience fun and hassle-free. Price ranges anywhere from $14-$20 depending on whether the tube you select has an attached bottom or is au natural. I highly recommend opting for a tube with a bottom. Other than being a place to rest your bottom, It has the added benefit of being a place you can hold your extra gear.

We always rent an extra tube for our ice chest to hold ice cold beverages and sandwich fixings. Being in the sun for a few hours has a tendency to make you hungry so it’s always a good idea to take some food along. Before you leave the River Outfitters, make sure you grab some rope and a trash bag. You’ll want to tie that ice chest tube to your group and of course we want to keep the river clean so a trash bag is a must.

The last thing you’ll need before you leave is plenty of sun block. The water is as ice cold as the sun is hot. After a day of fun the last thing you want is a nasty sunburn. I won’t go into the details about how I know this to be true.

Now that I’ve given you my tips for a successful river float, let’s get back to my recent Comal River experience:

The water was cold and flowing which meant I didn’t have to paddle in order to keep moving. In the triple digit heat we’ve had recently this was exactly what we needed. One of the first things I noticed about the Comal River was it’s neat and clean appearance. The next thing I noticed was how organized the tubing experience was. I was glad to see Park Police were on hand to keep folks safe and secure.

I also noticed signs along the river letting us know what was coming ahead. No surprises meant we could relax and enjoy ourselves instead of being concerned with unexpected rapids or drops. What was especially impressive was seeing Life Guards before and after the River Chute. We were able to enjoy the excitement of going down the fast rushing water chute knowing there were trained responders on hand.

When we were done with our 2 1/2 hour float we picked up our tubes and headed to the waiting River Outfitter vehicles. They loaded our tubes and drove us back to the starting point. We could pack up and go home or for the bold and the brave go for another round of floating. Naturally, we jumped right back in the ice cold water and went for round two.

The Comal River float winds through the City of New Braunfels, TX in the Heart of the Hill Country. Our family had such a wonderful time last weekend. So much so that the Comal River will be our next river destination. The good thing is that we won’t have to wait long. We’ll be part of the folks flocking to the Comal River this 4th of July weekend. I can think of no better way to celebrate Independence Day Weekend than to relax and enjoy the freedom of a river float. Wave if you see me there. I’ll be the one with the water gun helping keep folks cool.

Cheers!

UPDATE:
If you want to have even more fun, check out the other activities on the list. Other San Antonio bloggers have provided their take on some of the best activities in the area.

Take a look:
5. San Antonio Missions Baseball Game Fourth of July Extravaganza, by Derrich Rodriguez

4. Fourth of July Celebration in Luckenbach, TX, by Luis Sandoval Jr.

3. Tubing on the Comal River (New Braunfels, TX), by Jennifer Navarrete (good thing you’re already here, eh?)

2. Celebration on the River (Kerrville, Texas), by Shelley Cook

1. Aqua Boom Festival on Lake LBJ, by Jessica Young

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ImageHost.org
The locals will tell you there is simply no better way to spend a hot, lazy Texas afternoon—and the fourth of July is no exception. Independence Day is regarded as one of the best days of the year to break out the swimsuit and float down the river with a group of friends. The water of the Comal River is cool and quick, perfect for a day of relaxation and fun in the sun.
This blog post is part of the JW San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa “List of the Best Things to do in the Texas Hill Country” Blog Scavenger Hunt. The goal is to compile a list of the best ways to spend this Fourth of July (and any day of the year!) in the Hill Country. Thank you for helping us discover the Hill Country – the home of the newest and largest JW Marriott Resort, opening January 2010.

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River float image by Texas Tubes