Can You Stop Me From Becoming a Pimp?

Yes – yes, you can. I want to ask you a favor, and make a deal.

It’s that awful, horrible, Twitter-polluting time of the year again – South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) has opened up the public voting for panels, and we’re all about to be inundated with requests.

“Vote for my panel! PLEASE!” Every. Other. Tweet. Sigh…

Friends, I don’t want to be “that speaker.” So here’s the deal. I put in a proposal for a talk. It’s a good one – you can trust me on that. And there are a bazillion other good proposed speakers/talks also. But I have a unique angle, and I’m going to be a troublemaker.

Here’s my proposed session:

So, if you think I’m a halfway-decent fellow, worthy of stirring up some trouble in Austin talking about whether pharma and social media REALLY get along, please vote for my panel. I’m asking right here, right now. No endless pimping. Now.

The directions are simple:

1. Go to this link.

2. See that nice green circle on the graphic up there?  Click right there (the site may ask you to register if you’ve not been there. It only takes a moment. Keep repeating to yourself: “Steve’s worth it!”)

3. Done! (or, almost done – if you add a glowing comment on the page that would be a cherry on top!)

Of course, if you then pimp out this post for me, that means I can look like the most popular kid in school instead of a social media pimp-in-training. And here’s the kicker – if I go to Austin to speak at SXSWi, I’ll be forwarding the most luscious photos of BBQ that you’ve ever seen. That’s gotta be worth something.

Thank you in advance for voting for me so that we can initiate the #SXSWSanity club. One post. No pimping.


Hire Steve Woodruff  if your identity and message need clarity (personal or company Brand Therapy)

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Who “Owns” Social Media? Answered!

The debate has been raging across the social sphere – when it comes to business, who should “own” social media? Should it be PR? Marketing? Corporate Communications? HR?

Well, meeting an end-of-October deadline for a decision, the Social Networking Ownership & Responsibility Treaty (SNORT) has just been ratified. At a secret meeting convened by the Global Union of Relative Unknowns (GURU), an A-list conclave of social media mavens and all-stars has come to a final decision, announced at midnight last night on Twitter.

Social media, from now on, will be the responsibility of the Maintenance Dept.

Anticipating an upwelling of surprise at this announcement, the cabal of rockstar bloggers and tweeters outlined the rationale for this decision, in five main points:


  1. The other departments are used to just throwing stuff out there and leaving the aftermath to others. Maintenance, on the other hand, is used to cleaning up the mess, and who better to deal with all the detritus that will result from ill-conceived and poorly-executed social media programs?
  2. Maintenance is already “on” 24/7. Instead of paying high-priced employees or agencies to respond to social platforms at all hours, janitors and groundskeepers can easily be trained to field comments and tweet on behalf of the company at little or no extra expense.
  3. Social media is all about tools. Maintenance works with tools.
  4. The only turf wars Maintenance cares about is defeating grubs and crabgrass. That means greater corporate peace, more productivity, a healthier corporate climate, and ultimately, a flourishing of social media happiness and harmony.
  5. Maintenance really doesn’t worry much about ROI. So that’s a natural fit.

It isn’t yet clear what all the ramifications of this move will be, but it is widely expected that most bloggers will now end up with their computers in the basement, which actually should not present any real change management issues.

While all of the members of the GURU committee had expected to remain anonymous, Wikileaks managed to obtain a 90,000-tweetchat transcript of the secret deliberations and decision (#GURUSNORT), which also indicated that there were plans afoot to certify social media practitioners through a SXSW-style popularity contest, and to stratify them according to a new measure of credibility, the “Wiley.” Wikileaks did redact out all the names of the participants, explaining in a statement that, “we didn’t feel it necessary to publicize any particular individual’s participation, because if we mentioned Mitch Joel, we’d have to talk about Joseph Jaffe and Jim Long, and then DJ Waldow would get jealous and want to make sure we also included Amber Naslund and Lisa Petrilli – so we just left all the names out. Even Liz Strauss.”

Meanwhile, the city of Austin is urging SXSW to add a new “Maintenance” track to the annual geek spring break festival,with such topics suggested as “Trash-talking Ain’t the Same as Joining the Conversation,” and “Unclogging your Micro-blogging.” The track should be held after all the other guests have left, so that the downtown area can be restored to end-to-end cleanliness by leveraging an iPhone-toting cleanup crew.


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Entire Internet Lost

What began as a curious blackout during the annual South by Southwest geekfest in Austin has exploded into a major on-line crisis today.

The Internet has disappeared. Shockingly, the backup copy of everything on the interwebs has gone missing.

“It was just here last night!” exclaimed Shannon Whitley, applications programmer and Chief Global Internet
Curator. “I had the whole web continuously backed up on this 8-track tape. Someone must have thought it still had Waylon Jennings music on it, and removed it for a 70’s party or something!”

The loss was detected when SxSW presenter Biz Stone tried to access an old copy of Twitter using the Wayback Machine. A strange 404 page appeared displaying only the song lyric, “Stop the world and let me off, I’m tired of going round and round.” Except for a few locally-cached copies of and the SxSW session chooser, all other Internet sites vanished.

A frantic search of all local DJs with 8-track tape equipment did not turn up the archive, and a mimeographed copy of the Internet was also lost the same day due to a warehouse fire covering most of the state of Nevada, fueling speculation by conspiracy theorists around the globe. However, the geek class had to share their concerns by FAX and registered mail.

New social geolocation services due to be launched during SxSW have now been replaced by nametags and business cards. AT&T wireless executives were spotted yelling “It’s not our fault! Not us this year!!!!”

Outside the Austin conference center, a chuckling Jason Falls took it all in stride while munching a funnel cake, saying only, “They should have used Backupify. Heh.”


Prior StickyFigure spoofs

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SXSW…from the eyes of a 20-year old

(I’m not sure I ever anticipated the day I’d have a guest post from one of my children! But, here it is. My oldest son, who is pursuing a career in film, accompanied me to the South by Southwest conference. Here are his impressions…)

Trying to break into the film industry from the ground level is a daunting task for a 20-year old. It’s not enough to have a reasonable level of knowledge, skill, and talent – as with many things, it boils down to “who you know.”

That’s why attending the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference was so valuable.

Most people I meet on the street have little aspiration to create films. Yet, for a few days, I was surrounded by like-minded people who have the word “Film” on their badge and who are willing to talk shop in lobbies, hallways, and anywhere else. At first, as a young man attending my first professional conference, it was a little intimidating, but my mind was immediately put at ease by some great interaction right off while waiting in the registration line (thanks, Clark Richards)!

More often than not people just talked freely until they gave their life story or had another session to attend. Business cards, names, stories, and connections were exchanged in over the course of five minutes. I wasn’t made to feel like an outsider, but rather, I felt like a member of a wind-ranging fraternity of passionate and creative people.

The conference itself was very informative. Panelists would drop names of helpful books and sites, explain in detail how they became successful, and even stay after to talk personally to anyone who wanted to find out more. I will admit there were also big name thrills when I was able to meet and even talk to people such as Robert Rodriguez, Jeffrey Tambor, Henry Selick, Spike Lee, and Rose McGowan.

The films themselves were very professional and enjoyable. I attended nearly all the short films and was impressed by the quality of most of them. I also attended two large independent film premieres. The first was a comedy entitled “The 2 Bobs” and was directed by Tim McCanlines (Tim McCanlines has directed several family oriented films including “Secondhand Lions”). The actors came out onstage with Tim after the screening for an informative Q&A session. Then, on the Tuesday night was the premiere of “The Hurt Locker”. All I knew before going into the film was that it was directed Kathryn Bigelow (“Point Break”). What I saw was a fantastically shot war film about a group of soldiers in Iraq whose sole job is to disarm bombs. It was positively one of the most intense and harrowing war movies I have ever seen.

My father was attending the SXSW Interactive track and I had the privilege of meeting a number of his blogger friends, who were very kind and supportive. All in all SXSW was an invaluable experience for me, and for any young filmmaker that has extra cash and a week to invest next year, I’d certainly recommend attending SXSW 2010!

(You can find out more about Nate and his professional interests at his site, (includes sample films). And, if you know of opportunities that may be open to a young “apprentice” with some real talent, we’re all ears!)

See you in Austin!

stevenatesm1I’ll be in Austin Fri-Tues for the SxSW conference – but, for the first time, with a major twist.

It’s going to be a father-son gig! I’ll be doing the Interactive track, and my 20-year son Nathan is going to be immersed in the Film track.

Nathan is keenly interested in pursuing a career in the Film industry. He already has quite a bit of experience (due to a magnet school educational program) and needs to find a place where his skills can be developed to the next level (you can see his background and samples of his work at

This will be Nathan’s first foray into the dazzling world of conference networking, and I’m writing this post simply to ask my many friends and acquaintances to reach out to Nate/me if you have contacts in the film industry that might be valuable for a young man starting out.

Nate is not on Twitter (yet), but you can text him at 973-590-6994, and you can reach me at the conference anytime via Twitter at @swoodruff.

Thanks in advance for the warm welcome that I’m sure Nate will receive into the community. I’m looking forward to seeing you folks in Austin!