Geek Breakfast!

In March 2009, I attended my first Podcamp Nashville.  While there I got to meet, or hear speak, a couple of people I’d been following (and admiring) on Twitter for a little while.

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One of those folks was Dave Delaney (@davedelaney on Twitter).  Soon after, I discovered Dave had organized what he referred to as a Geek Breakfast group on Facebook.  He describes the group as, “A casual monthly meet-up over coffee and breakfast to discuss new media, podcasting, blogging, programming, open source, social networks and more.”  I quickly joined.  Later, I discovered a group had also been created for Hendersonville (a community north of Nashville) by Bill Seaver (@billseaver on Twitter).

I soon realized though that, while joining these Facebook groups would no doubt bring into my life many new and exciting friendships, the proximately of my home and work to both of these areas would make it difficult to make one of the monthly gatherings any time soon.

I proceded to check the Geek Breakfast headquarters and saw that, while there was a Murfreesboro group in addition to Nashville and Hendersonville, there wasn’t a south of Nashville, Franklin/Spring Hill group of any kind.  If you know the Franklin and Spring Hill, Tennessee areas at all, you know that over the last 10 years Spring Hill and the Franklin area of Cool Springs have grown significantly.

It just didn’t seem right for there not to be a Franklin – Spring Hill Geek Breakfast Group.  So, I did what anyone else would’ve done in my situation.  I formed my own.  Honestly, I did it without giving much thought to preparation and planning, the investment of time, recruiting people, any of that.  I just did it.

So, now, here I sit eagerly anticipating the development of this new group.  As soon as I can secure a location and date, I’ll pass the info along both on Facebook and here on my blog under the Geek Breakfast tab.

I hope if you live or work near this sprawling area of middle Tennessee you’ll consider joining us.  And, if you have any suggestions on how to make it better, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thanks!

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Alltop: A Magazine Rack for the Internet

Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki on Twitter), best-selling author of The Art of the Start and Reality Check, is changing the world .  And while I can’t say I always agree with his politics, I sure do love his creativity and what he brings to the world wide web.

Last year he launched Alltop (inspired by popurls), a site described as an online magazine rack .  Simply put, it’s a site that aggregates, in a very clean and simple way, the web’s cream of the crop from virtually every topic imaginable.  There’s plenty of useful information to be found on Alltop, not the least of which is great blog post ideas.

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You’ll find links to blogs and news sites on topics ranging from Acne to Zoology and virtually everything in between.  Don’t find what you’re looking for?  Suggest to the Alltop crew they add it by sending them an e-mail to info@alltop.com.  You can even submit your own site or blog for inclusion among the topics.  My blog shows up in the radio category.

Sure, there’s Google Search.  And if you’re anything like me, you make use of Google Reader or another feed reader that brings your blog subscriptions right to your doorstep.  So what’s so special about Alltop?  Who uses it?  Why?  Well,  Chris Brogan puts it this way:

Alltop isn’t for you or me. It’s for friends and family and coworkers who aren’t yet surfing at the speed of light with Google Reader, or adding meta commentary via FriendFeed. It’s for our neighbor who still logs into AOL, or people who want to read a sampling of information without a lot of customization.

Now, I consider myself a seasoned surfer, but I find myself often making use of Alltop anyway.  Rather than doing a Google search when I’m researching a particular topic, I go to Alltop first to see if it’s covered there.  If so, I instantly have a dozen or more of the top blogs on that subject at my fingertips.

Are you a Mom interested in what others in your space are writing about?  Then moms.alltop.com is a good place to start.  Want to learn how to make a Caramel Machiatto just like Starbucks?  Try coffee.alltop.com. Looking to hone your writing skills?  Check out writing.alltop.com.

Whether you’re an internet newbie or a seasoned pro, I think you’ll find plenty of benefits at Alltop.

What about you?  Can you think of other ways to use Alltop?

Google Alerts Are A Beautiful Thing

I love Google Alerts.  With it, I get daily e-mail updates whenever items I’m interested in show up in the news or even on individual blogs.  In the example below, I’ve highlighted a daily Google blog alert I run for the search term “WAY-FM,” the name of the station for which I work.

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The results don’t always turn up relevant links (like “2-way FM radios”), but that’s often simply a matter of refining the search terms a bit.

In the case of the Jasper Walls link, I’ve found a Nashville resident who is a fan of my station.  Cool huh?  I’ve even been able to offer a “heads-up” in the past to other operations directors within WAY-FM Media Group when a listener in their area is blogging about them.

Sincere Engagement Is The Key

Next comes the task of engaging the author (Melissa) in a transparent and meaningful way, being careful not to freak her out in the process.  If not handled properly,  even someone blogging to the world can “get the creeps” when being contacted immediately after mentioning you in passing.

I’ll simply thank her for listening, admit that I too sometimes “wander,” complement her on her post if it’s sincere (and in this case it certainly is), and maybe even quiz her on her favorite music and offer to send her some free stuff (a CD, t-shirt or whatever she might show an interest in).

It is my belief that sincere gestures like this can go a long way in helping create a listener for life.  Plus, it’s just plain fun to do.