Thoughts On The San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon Bike Tour Support

Photo by BrightRoom

My viewpoint on the 22 mile Bike Tour portion of the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon. Our group was the first out of the gate at 6:45am. The weather was foggy but still cool. I am relatively new to biking and had never done a bike tour before. The energy and support along the route was fantastic. I’ve run three 1/2 Marathons before (2 being RnR-Pheonix 2004 & SA in 2008). My perspective of the event was that there was a lot of support along the route. Many Medical tents/staff, drink stations, emergency personnel and of course folks cheering us on.

I was saddened to hear about the death of Jorge Fernandez. Aside from that tragedy, I have also read some of the complaints from folks on the RnR Facebook page and inside this Express-News article. One of the things that comes to mind is that perhaps a staggered volunteer and supply schedule should be considered for next year’s event. That way folks who are in the last portion of the event can still receive the same kind of attention as the folks who are in the first half of finishers.

I am by no means a fast runner or biker. I’m more of a slow and steady gal. However, I have always found support at the RnR events to be outstanding. It is my hope that we can all learn from this experience to make an even better event next year.

Congratulations to everyone who got up early to personally challenge themselves on a warm Sunday in November. Pat yourselves on the back for running/walking/biking to raise money for a worthy cause.

Special thanks to Richard Oliver for allowing me to be a part of the San Antonio Express-News article.

UPDATE: Here are my notes to the organizers of the event from their survey request of my Bike Tour experience.

“Kudos:
Really enjoyed my first ever Bike Tour. Your event has motivated me to participate in other bike tours.
•Fantastic support by volunteers and emergency crews Thanks.
•Really liked being able to Bike Valet. What an awesome experience with the folks from Bike World. Smiling and joking around with us at both drop off and pick up. 2 Thumbs up on Bike Valet service.

Critiques:
•More announcer mentions of Bike Tour (we felt like the proverbial “red-headed step-children” to the Full & 1/2 Marathon.
•Have all bands on stage for event. It was a bit disappointing to ride by stages that were empty.
* Have a bit of a longer exit area at the finish line. As soon as we crossed the finish there was a lady yelling at us to ” SLOW DOWN AND GET OFF YOUR BIKES!” <- A big buzz kill to the euphoria you are feeling for completing the 22 mile course. A longer exit area would allow us time to slow down without having someone yelling at us.
• More photographers at the finish. There was only 1 shot of me during the race and none of me crossing the finish line. I hammed it up by raising both my arms up as my sign of accomplishment. Imagine my disappointment when the photographer who was taking the finish pics didn’t capture that moment.

On a side note, I did hear from lots of folks where were in “last to finish” groups of both bikers and runners who did not receive the same level of support as the folks that finished in the first half. Here is a suggestion: Why not stagger your volunteers and supplies? That way everyone gets the full experience from start to finish?

Overall I am thrilled with my Bike Tour experience. I’ve run 2 of your 1/2 Marathon’s before (Pheonix 04 and SA in 08) and have been very happy with the RnR experience.”

Fitness Tweetup

One of the cool things about being so active in this space are the opportunities that come my way. In a recent interview with George and Paula Roberts about Fitness and Social Media, the idea for a Fitness Tweetup was born. We all know that spending an inordinate amount of time on sedentary tasks leads to a phenomenon called “Blogger Butt”. Sheila Scarborough coined this term a few years back when she began to notice that as her online persona was becoming more widely known her behind followed suit. She is not alone in the observation. Many of us who spend most of our lives online have noticed our own “widening and expanding” presence.

There have been all kinds of tweetups around various topics: Networking, Drinking, Cupcakes, Movies, Entertainment, Comedy, Sneak Peeks, etc… However, I had never heard or seen a Fitness Tweetup. I RSVP’d for my first ever Fitness Tweetup with a little bit of trepidation. I’ve done a few 1/2 Marathon’s (13.1 miles) and can run on a treadmill for anywhere from 2-5 miles, but I am not in what I would consider “fighting shape”. Would I show up to a room of hard bodies? Would the instructors take a look at me and go into drill sergeant mode? I imagined Gunny yelling in my face demanding, “Drop and give me 20!” and any other number of scenarios in which I was likely to fail.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although the 30 minute workout at the Fitness Tweetup was challenging, it was something a newbie like myself could do. By no means was I graceful, but by the end of 30 minutes I was sweaty and felt a sense of accomplishment. The workout was comprised of simple but effective moves and changed up so much and so often that before I had time to realize it, we were done. For me the hardest part of the entire workout was the Yoga Warmup.

Over the next couple of days I pondered the effectiveness of a Fitness Tweetup. Could this be something the geek and social media community could benefit from? The answer for me was a resounding, “Yes!” Even my husband who does weekly bike rides of 17-20 miles with the Otra Vez Biking and Adventure Club felt the soreness over the next couple of days. It really gave me food for thought when someone who I consider physically fit says, “Man, that was a workout”.

I admire this new and innovative approach to fitness and the online social community which George and Paula Roberts have embarked on.  I encourage folks to join them for their next Fitness Tweetup. It’s the kind of event we can all benefit from both physically and mentally which has a long-tail impact for the years to come.

Here is an interview I did with George, Paula and John post workout:

 

 

What’s New? Camps, Conference and Speaking

Want to know what is going on in Jen’s World? Let start with MobiCamp San Antonio on Saturday, February 26, 2011.

You may be wondering exactly what MobiCamp San Antonio is all about. Well here in a nutshell is an explanation:

“MobiCamp San Antonio is an UnConference being held to focus conversation around the use of mobile technology from smartphones to tablet devices to apps and beyond as it relates to business, nonprofits and our daily lives. It’s an “UnConference”, meaning that it’s a conference organized in an ad-hoc manner for everyone to attend and participate in.

The mantra of every camp is “Learn, Share, Grow” We hope that folks will come ready to do all three.

There are no keynote speakers or rigidly defined schedules. Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join. Want to learn more about the business use of smartphones, mobile apps, fund-raising on the go, live video and audio streaming and how it can happen all from your mobile devices? Always wanted to know more about the staying connected and productive while on the go? Then MobiCamp San Antonio is the place to be. We are planning for a crowd of the most plugged-in, most active mobile, business, education, social media and connected folks from all around Texas.”

 

On March 3rd my company, Brewing Media,  will host another Social Media Lounge at Innotech San Antonio which is being held at the Norris Conference Center. Swing on by to learn how social media can be a part of your communication strategy and marketing campaigns. There will be a live streaming video interviews and audio podcasts being recorded throughout the day long event. By using these tools on the trade show floor we show folks just how easy it is to implement these tools into their existing campaigns.

I am also hosting a session in the afternoon titled, “Social Media Mobile Strategies: There’s An App For That” If you’re curious to learn how your phone could be your business partner then you might want to consider attending my session. Here is a brief description of what you can expect,

“The business world is in a fast paced transition. It has never been easier to stay productive and connected. Mobile tools and apps are leading the way.

The word mobile has gone beyond the word phone. In today’s world mobile = customers on the move. It means, staying productive regardless of location. It means business doesn’t stop just because you stepped out of the office.

The new generation of smartphones like iPhones, Androids, Windows 7 coupled with the explosion of tablet devices like iPad, Galaxy, Streak have changed the way business gets done.

Smart business uses all of the available smartphone apps, online and social tools at their disposal to get things done. Need to submit purchase orders? Process payments? Share contact information? There’s an app for that.

Learn the innovative ways that business, nonprofits and groups are using these tools to run their organizations. Specific social media strategies and productivity apps will be revealed.

Discover the true power of these tools to make business happen on the go.”


On March 9th I will be headed to Austin, TX for RISE Austin. RISE is a weeklong city-wide event focused on entrepreneurship.

“What is special about RISE? Unlike traditional conferences, RISE is about entrepreneurship FOR the people. Because our sessions are free, RISE attracts incredibly diverse participants, reflecting all ages, stages and industries.

The RISE conference is hands-on and creative, just like our participants. Anyone can organize and host a RISE session on the topic of his/her choice. Sessions are limited to 25 to promote a highly collaborative experience. Join us for RISE 2011: March 7-11, 2011.”

This is my 3rd year to present a session at RISE. It is such an amazing and unique event that I would love to see replicated in cities around the globe. You can find me presenting “Business On The Go: Smartphones, iPads and Apps, OH MY!” at the Bob Bullock Museum on Wednesday, March 9th from 12:00-1:30pm.

“Modern business is done on the go. We take our smartphones with us everywhere. Apps are the latest tools that have helped turn our phones into a powerhouse business tool. With the introduction of the iPad and other tablet devices, business have never been more mobile. In this session we will discover the ways that smart business, nonprofits and groups are using these tools to run their organizations. We will discuss specific productivity and social media apps, dissect a “Day In The Life” case study and have a hands-on session. Get ready to roll your sleeves up to experience the power of these tools to make business happen on the go. From mobile platforms to apps to audio and video streaming to Facebook and FourSquare check ins, the ability to be productive while staying connected has never been easier.”

There are lots of fun places you can fine me at but the easiest way to keep up is to connect with me online. Twitter and Facebook are the two main locations where my conversations tend to happen. Feel free to join me. The best way to start a relationship with me online is to introduce yourself. I recommend drinking a cup of coffee before diving into the chattiness.

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

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

Open Letter to the San Antonio Podcasting Community

To My Fellow Podcasters:

Creating and being a part of the San Antonio Podcasting Group has been an amazing experience. It started as a way for me to find local podcasters to share my excitement about, what at the time was, a groundbreaking medium.

It’s been 4 years since those humble beginnings back in September 2005. So much has happened since then. We fired up the early adopter tech/geek crowd and have done some first time events here in San Antonio. From our small group the New Media/Social Media Community was born.

From PodCamp to BarCamp to TweetCamp we have been pioneers involved in building what is now a wonderfully diverse and vibrant community. Pat yourselves on the back for being part of the group and making things happen.

As New Media evolved to Social Media we have been using the Meetup site less and less. What was once a chatty message board has become as silent as a library. It’s not that we aren’t still interacting online, however the location for our conversations have been happening on Twitter and Facebook.

There doesn’t seem to be a need for us to continue to host the group on Meetup. As we are well aware, Meetup charges organizers a fee to host a group. As the use of the Meetup platform has become anemic, it appears there is no need to continue with the group in it’s current form.

There are plenty of places for us to host our group outside of Meetup. There is Ning http://ning.com and even Facebook has a group feature. We still have the SA Podcasters blog site which Nathan Lott and Leslie Baldwin have been heading up for the last year.

I propose we allow the Meetup group to close and continue the conversation on either Ning or Facebook. I believe Ning allows us more features as well as an extremely feature rich platform. It’s my first choice, however I know that for the most part we are all already on Facebook so adding a new group to our existing profiles would be easier. I’m willing to go either way.

I won’t miss Meetup. I will miss interacting with you, my dear Podcasting Buds. Knowing you has enriched my life immensely.

Thanks for joining the fun!

Cheers,
Jennifer Navarrete

RISE Austin and Innotech San Antonio

It’s been a great week of meeting new folks, reconnecting with old friends and knowledge sharing. On Tuesday, I was privileged to speak during the RISE Austin 3-day multi-location event at the Mexican American Cultural Center. The topic of my session was “Cultivating Community With Social Media At The Local Level”. It was based upon my own personal experience of creating the San Antonio Podcasting community in 2005 which then led to organizing PodCamp San Antonio in 2007/2008, Startup Weekend San Antonio in 2008, Barcamp San Antonio in 2008, Social Media Club San Antonio and Social Media Breakfast San Antonio.

Once I created the first group, I was able to find other passionate folks to help champion future groups and events. The same can be true for anyone. Whatever your passion, hobby, business or non-profit the social media tools can be a great tool to find “your people”.

Here are the presentation slides from the session:

Then on Thursday, Susan Price of Firecat Studio and I presented at Innotech San Antonio. We had a morning session called, “Twitter: A Business Tool Or A Complete Waste Of Time?” (< --I think you know my answer to this). The group was comprised of about a 50/50 mix of folks who were either on Twitter or Twitter-curious. In the afternoon we did a session, "Building Community Online and Offline using Social Media". We used the Co-Working model as a way to illustrate how social media can be used to keep folks connected both online 24/7. However, the value of face-to-face community should not be overlooked. For the business person, Co-Working gatherings are a way to have the best of both worlds. With only 25 minutes, the sessions went by at breakneck speed. The slides for the "Building Community" can be seen here:

Building Communities Online And Offline With Co Working

Kudos to Armando Rayo, Hispanic Engagement Consultant for RISE Austin and Sean Lowery, Executive Director at Innotech They were lively, interactive gatherings and I really enjoyed being a part of the vibrant conversations.

Thoughts on Barcamp San Antonio

On the off chance you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard the news, we just held the first ever Barcamp in San Antonio this past weekend. It was an amazing success and by far the easiest camp-like event I’ve organized. Considering I’ve done two Podcamps and a Startup Weekend in the last 16 months that says a lot.

When we were planning Podcamp San Antonio in May 2007, it was a challenge to obtain sponsorship, spread the word and facilitate registrations for a first-time event. Fast forward 16 months to Barcamp San Antonio which had generous companies contacting us to sponsor, pre and post press coverage and “sold out” registration twice! So what has been the difference?

I believe it’s a combination of a few things: First, the Camp-phenomenon is finally becoming main stream. Second, because of previous events, San Antonio is more aware of camps. Third, We have been lucky enough to have increased coverage in the traditional press.

Something else which has helped to bring our participation level up is the camp-to-camp attendance within the state. By attending camps in Austin, DFW and Houston we’ve been able to increase awareness statewide of what the Tech/Creative Class are doing in San Antonio.

When I first started attending Camps and talking about San Antonio, I would hear, “Oh, you’re from San Antonio? We never see or hear from folks in San Antonio. You guys are so quiet down there. We wondered if you all had any tech geeks and if you did what you all were doing.” It surprised me to hear these comments.

While I am a Native Texan, I was not a Native San Antonian. The fact that folks outside of San Antonio were unaware of the local tech culture seemed unfathomable. By being an active part of the community at large and encouraging other to do the same, that perception has changed.  What I hear nowadays is, “Hey, it’s the San Antonio peeps! So glad you guys made the trek. When are you holding your next event? We’ll be there! I’ve got an event I’m planning, can you help us spread the word?”

I do believe folks who are part of the Camp movement epitomize the whole, “Learn, Share, Grow” mentality. We inherently want to help not just our local community but by extension the communities in our state, country and world. Camps are found on almost every continent. (If anyone knows about a Camp being held in Antarctica let me know.) There is an energy surrounding a Camp which is so powerful it’s almost a physical entity.

By attending camps around the state and organizing camps in San Antonio, I’ve found other creative folks who are just as passionate about tech, media and the community as I am. It’s both refreshing and enlightening. Most of the time we work in obscurity within our chosen medium and rarely find other like-minded folks to share these passions with locally. Sure, we’ve got our online community to inspire and motivate, but the face to face connection never goes out of style.

So my thoughts on Barcamp San Antonio really revolve around the whole growth and shift in local and state-wide interest and involvement.  With annual Camps planned in April, May, June and September, the time has never been better to be involved in the Tech/Creative Class in San Antonio.

Green Experiment: Embracing Local Venues

This morning we wanted to go out for a walk, but we were also hungry. So, I asked, “Why don’t we walk to breakfast?” We paused for a moment to consider distance and temperature. It was early morning so it was still cool outside and the restaurant we wanted to eat at wasn’t far at all. Off we went on our morning adventure.

I knew I’d been more sedentary than usual because of various projects, but I didn’t realize how much so until I found myself out of breath while John and I were chatting. Granted we were walking up an incline, but still it made me realize just how little I’ve been active lately. Of course, John thought the solution to my being winded while chatting was for me to just not talk. Yeah, everyone’s a comedienne in my house.

We got to our destination, ordered our breakfast and coffee, sat outside and talked about how easy this was. Instead skipping our walk to stay home to eat breakfast or jumping in the car to pick up breakfast we opted to do both. We walked to our meal, enjoyed it and proceeded to stroll back. I say stroll because with a full belly it is best to stroll.

The idea of doing something like this on a more regular basis came to us over coffee. It would be a way to get some exercise, save on fuel and really get to know our local venues. We have access to many restaurants and businesses all within walking distance of our neighborhood. Even my favorite coffee roasters are easily accessible. It really got us thinking about making an effort to conduct this Green Experiment. One thing is for sure, I’m glad I live in a somewhat hilly part of town which does offer more of a variable workout just by walking. I’ll keep you posted.

The Social Networking Short-Cut

Social Sites Social Networking is all the rage right now. There are those who have been a part of it in some form or fashion since it’s inception. There are others who are just hearing about it today. I became involved in Social Networking through podcasting in 2005. For me, it was about finding people who were as interested and passionate about podcasting as I was. It turned into more as the online relationships developed. Attending conference events like the New Media Expo and unconference events like Barcamp Austin led me to even more online social networks. It started off as a way to continue the conversation with folks I had met at events.

Over the years it has progressed to first meeting folks online and later meeting them in person at an event.  Even though I was meeting them for the first time, it felt as though I was visiting with an old friend. It was great! I was connecting with folks who had the same interests. It didn’t matter that they lived in Florida, Connecticut or even Canada. Our relationships were as real as any in my own town. More so, because we interacted with one another on a daily basis. I don’t do that with anyone in town with the exception of my family.

So by doing what came natural to me, chatting about stuff that interests me, it turns out I was Social Networking. Who knew?

Fast forward to 2008 and Social Networks are all the buzz. You can’t open a magazine without hearing about Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube and so many more. There is a lot of socializing going on in the Social Networks. So much so that Big Business has started to pay attention. Southwest Airlines, Comcast and Zappo’s are not only on the networks, they are actively participating in them daily. Ford just hired Scott Monty as their Social Media Strategist. Other companies are taking a serious look at Social Networking.

What does this mean for someone who wants to get involved but doesn’t know the first place to start? There are so many networks out there it can make your head spin. Which ones should you join and which ones should you avoid like the plague? Oh sure, there is always the old standard method of trial and terror. It does work. However, it can be time consuming and fraught with Social Media faux pas. If you are a business owner you may not have the time to learn the ropes. And there is a learning curve. There are folks who jump in with both feet and in their excitement proceed to get blocked or ignored.

While Social Networks can be beneficial for your business, organization or group, there is a right way and a wrong way to participate depending on the network. I highly recommend you take the time to learn about each network to see which one best suits your personality, interests and goals. In this case it’s okay to be a bit of a lurker. It’s one way to learn the nuances and ensure your acceptance into the community at large.

Another way to jump into the social media landscape is to participate in one of the unconference-style camp events which happen periodically around the country. They pack informative sessions on podcasting, videoblogging and social media all into one day long event. Here in San Antonio we have PodCamp San Antonio and the upcoming Barcamp San Antonio. Check for an event in your neck of the woods on the various camp wiki’s. Here is the Podcamp Wiki which shows future and past events.

And still another way would be to participate in a workshop or hands-on class. These are meant to be small and intimate affairs where the goal is to not just learn but to do. One of my favorite sayings is, “It’s all about the DOING”. It’s fine and dandy to have plans but if the actual DOING of the plans isn’t carried out then the plan was for naught. This could apply to just about anything but it certainly is applicable when it comes to Social Networking.

You could also hire a Social Media Consultant or Strategist to help you navigate the ever changing landscape that is Social Networking. This would be considered the most personalized method for introduction into the world of Social Networking. Each facet is highly customized to the particular organization. Having a guide to help you maneuver through the nuances of each particular site certainly makes participating less daunting.

Out of the four options I listed above, I consider the last two Social Networking Short-cuts. By hiring a Consultant or participating in a workshop you are able to shorten the learning curve considerably. The margin of error also goes down and your adoption rate goes up putting you on the fast track to Social Media Nirvana. Which is the perfect blend of real world and online world interaction with folks who are passionate about your business, brand, cause or even you.

What will it be like when you share coffee with folks all over the country over a Social Network like Twitter? How much of a boost will your career take once you engage with the LinkedIn community? Who will your dog connect with on Dogster?  Yes, even dogs and cats (Catster) are doing it. So, just how telling is it when dogs and cats have their own Social Network?

In case a workshop is more your style, I have partnered up with Connie Reece and Sheila Scarborough to conduct several workshops on Three Web 2.0 Tools. There are two in July. One is on Friday, July 18th in Austin, TX at the Hilton Garden Inn Northwest.  The other workshop will be held one week later on Friday, July 25th in San Antonio, TX at the San Antonio Technology Center. These workshops will be hands-on and highly interactive. Get ready to roll your sleeves up for an indepth introduction to three of the best ways to start your social media journey.

Regardless of the method chosen to engage in Social Networking, I do believe participation is the key to sucess. I hope you find Social Networking as informative and fun as I have.