Tag: raleigh

Featured Video Play Icon

Social Meta Optimization presentation at WordCamp Raleigh 2017

I'm excited to share this WordCamp Raleigh 2017 presentation on Social Meta Optimization. This presentation is for social media managers and digital marketers who want to learn how to optimize WordPress posts and pages as social objects to be shared in social media. You'll learn how to set a photo or video, title, description, and link for each post or page, so that your social shares communicate your message correctly.

Read more

WordPress and Social Media Presentation

I gave this WordPress and Social Media presentation in the Spring 2011 at WordCamp Raleigh. While WordPress does not have specific social media functions built-in, there are many ways to optimize WordPress for social media.

Read more

Triangle DJ scene is a sad state of affairs

I moved from New York City to North Carolina’s Research Triangle region on August 1, 2010 for a job opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wikiepedia best describes the area:

The Research Triangle, also known as Raleigh-Durham and commonly referred to as simply “The Triangle“, is a region in the Piedmont ofNorth Carolina in the United States, anchored by North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill respectively.

The eight-county region, officially named the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA, comprises the Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan areas and the Dunn Micropolitan Statistical Area. A 2009 Census Estimate put the population at 1,742,816. The Raleigh-Durham television market includes a broader 23-county area which includes Fayetteville, and has a population of 2,726,000 persons.[1]

The “Triangle” name was cemented in the public consciousness in the 1950s with the creation of Research Triangle Park, home to numerous high-tech companies and enterprises. Although the name is now used to refer to the geographic region, “The Triangle” originally referred to the universities, whose research facilities, and the educated workforce they provide, have historically served as a major attraction for businesses located in the region.

I considered moving here for two reasons. First, the region has a technology focus. Research Triangle Park houses companies like IBM, Red Hat, and Cisco. Apple, Facebook, and Google have all built data centers in the western part of the state. There’s a start-up culture rising in Durham and UNC Chapel Hill’s Chancellor, Holden Thorpe, began an Innovation Carolina initiative at the school, which looks promising. It seemed as if the time was right to leave New York City. When the opportunity presented itself, we decided to make the change.

The second reason I moved here is because I’d seen a semblance of a DJ culture scene. When I was considering this area, I attended a conference in Raleigh with the dual purpose of coming down for the event and scouting the area. During our stay, we happened across the Mosaic Spring Music festival, which takes place at the Mosaic Wine Lounge near Glenwood Avenue; a residential area fronted by a number of bars and restaurants.

Mosaic, for all intent and purpose, is specifically dedicated to the DJ culture. The venue attracts a trendy, professional crowd. Keith Ward both books the room and DJs himself, along with Stephen Feinberg. Keith schedules these festivals twice a year and books predominantly local DJ talent for a full week. After stumbling on what I think is one of the few jewels in the nightlife scene in Raleigh, I thought that might extend further out into Durham and Chapel Hill, but I was wrong. It doesn’t.

Once I moved down last year, I attended Sound Cartel events hosted by DJs Marshall Jones and Nugz. They’ve got something going on in trying to create a vibe for house music in the Triangle. Little by little, they are building a following. At Mosaic, I hear they draw a nice crowd. But in Chapel Hill, there’s not much going on for them, or anyone else playing true house music. It’s up and down. One night, there might be 20 people, and on another, they might get 60 to 100. Generally, the more heavily attended nights are when they bring in an outside DJ and promote it to the DJ culture community, who show up in droves to pay hommage to a legend that may grace “the decks.” As the college crowd latches onto Dubstep as the the flavor of the month, true house music seem to have been abandoned. We don’t know why.

What we do know, is that electronic music fans in the Triangle will go to large, open air music festivals or stop-over dates featuring DJs like Tiesto and Kaskade. IdentityFest kicked off in Charlotte and Tiesto played a date in Winston-Salem. That begs the question, if these people are attending DJ culture events around the state, why aren’t they supporting the club culture? Is it the economy? Any cover charge today is sneered at, especially since bars are considered social clubs and must charge a fee on top of the cover fee. I don’t know the reason why that is, but I can guess that fee is really a way to keep underage kids out of the bars. The hours? With so many parents living in this area, they’ve outgrown the desire to go out at night. Chapel Hill and Carrboro are sleepy little towns. While the college crowd hits the pubs up on East Franklin Street, anything that doesn’t target that market is going to be challenged with building a crowd.

Do these young people not identify house music as “electronic” music? Maybe. There is little, if any radio support in this area for dance/electronic music. Satellite radio is national and they don’t run local promotions for club nights, so you won’t hear advertising on the radio like you hear in other markets. College radio is predominantly hip-hop.. Local Internet radio gets a scattered following. It’s very hard to build a local audience on the Internet. There just aren’t enough listeners to sustain it, so the sites that are playing dance music are attracting an International audience, which doesn’t bode well for local attendance.

There are some venues in Chapel Hill with DJs, but those DJs are typically younger and playing to the college crowd. Sure, they are part of the fabric of DJ culture, but they’re not trying to develop a signature sound. They’re playing what’s hot. No problem with that, because there should be room for everything. But, there isn’t.

I played out twice in the last month at Durham’s Casbah, a rock club with a decent sound system and light show. On a Saturday night in Durham, I found the Brightleaf Square area, which is comprised of old, renovated tobacco warehouses with shops and restaurants, and a few free standing college oriented watering holes, to be very quiet. There was a distinct difference between Friday, where the street was busier, than Saturday where it was not at all. It seemed like a Monday night and not a Saturday.

The question then becomes, how do we change this? In an area full of soccer moms and dads, twenty-five thousand plus students from UNC and half that from Duke, where is the disconnect? It seems that the Latin themed parties attract an audience. I’ve been to a few salsa events, which were crowded and everyone was dancing. Have people forgotten how to dance to house music? Do they care?

Chapel Hill is very family oriented. If you move here, you’re either a student (undergrad or grad), or you have a family and you’re sending your kids to one of the top school systems in the country. There seems to be no in between. Migrate east toward Raleigh, and that’s where you’ll find a younger scene. But out here in Chapel Hill, it’s hard to get people out of their houses on a weekly basis.

In addition to families, the area is known for its live music venues. With that, you have to also compete with other artists trying to do their thing as well. The Independent Weekly is similar to New York’s Village Voice. It provides a smattering of coverage for EDM events, but people generally know it as covering alternative, rock, country, bluegrass, and hip-hop. I can’t say that I’ve picked it up and found a weekly update on the EDM scene. And, maybe that’s what’s needed: education.

If people don’t know, they can’t support. Maybe, they’re just not hearing it. I have some ideas, but with all my comings and goings and what I’m involved with, I’m certainly not going to be the one man army. It takes an organized and cohesive message. One bright spot is the TriangleBeats.com website and e-mail list-serve. If done correctly, Triangle Beats can serve as the conduit for people who want to learn and participate in EDM culture. It remains to be seen whether the participants can glue it together and make something happen. I’ve gotten involved on a surface level, just to give some advice. I really see EDM education as the primary driver. If TriangleBeats.com can then educate, both online and off, we may have found something. But, it’s going to take years to grow a scene. It’s not going to happen overnight.

B2B blogging and publishing with iPhone WordPress App

(This is an updated post to the original. WordPress App for iPhone didn’t save my post the way I’d originally intended it to. I had to update this post and republish using my laptop, defeating the purpose of the article. I’ve am grateful I remembered most of this post. There’s nothing like losing your content and having to start from scratch.)

I’ve been carrying this iPhone for well over a year now with the WordPress iPhone app installed, but I rarely pull it out to post to any of my blogs. Amazing technology hangs on my belt, but I’m not using it!

Usually, I’ll pull up my Facebook or Tweetdeck app for the iPhone to publish my random thoughts, keeping my 1,500+ friends on the FB and over 700 followers on Facebook updated. But there’s only so much one can say in 140 characters or less. The concept of SMS texting and status updates have changed the dynamics of interpersonal communication. I recently heard a report on WNYC radio in New York City about a young girl who posted 14,528 texts in one month. While that’s an anomaly, companies like Twitter, Jaiku, and the defunct Pownce responded to the demand for applications to post quick, short updates using mobile devices. While each company provides the ability to post updates on a website, most posts come from mobile handsets, which provide a constant connection to the web.

My girlfriend recently checked out You Are Not A Gadget for me from the Bronxville Public Library. I’m not even 20 pages in yet, but have already been introduced to author Jared Lanier’s belief that the use of status updates have had a negative affect on interpersonal communication. Whether that’s true or not depends on how we value social media tools in our daily lives. Our children are being trained to communicate in short bursts of information, communicating in acronyms and hacking punctuation to create smiley faces and frowns as a substitute for words. Young people have always created new forms of communication. There isn’t much different in that regard, but we race to understand it and try to limit it, without even really comprehending its affect on us.

While I’m pro social media, one can’t ignore that communication has been irrevocably altered. While some argue SMS and status updates are disrupting the art of writing, which will lead to the decline of Western Civilization as we know it; others say that technology innovation makes improvements to our lives that we have yet to fully understand. Why use so many words to explain simple concepts? Status updates are brief and too the point. Once the wheel was invented, people chose to drive over walking. I’m sure there are those who argue nothing beats walking, but others embrace progress and use the new tools to their advantage, speeding by who they consider the walking fool. To each his or her own in this world. Let the chips fall where they may.

For bloggers, it’s easy to fall prey to the allure of SMS and status updates. As I use the WordPress App for iPhone, I realize there are three distinct issues for those who want to publish long form text on mobile devices. The first issue is screen size. It’s very difficult to view what you’re already written that is hidden behind a scroll. You can only really see a few lines of text, which impacts your ability to quickly refer to what you’ve already written.

The second issue is typing for an extended period on a mobile device. The size of the keys in portrait mode are difficult to master. Constant spelling errors abound. And, WordPress on the iPhone doesn’t identify spelling errors. You have to be on point and make sure there are no mistakes.

And third, I’m here (I was here, I’m back at the hotel room now trying to salvage this post) in at the Four Points Sheraton in Raleigh, NC attending Wordcamp Raleigh. It was pretty easy for me to pull out my iPhone and tweet, Facebook my status, and use FourSquare to tag my location. I’m here at the listening to Jeffrey L. Cohen from Howard, Merrell, and Partners give a presentation on business blogging, which reminded me of a conversation I recently had with my girlfriend, who asked me why I post status updates instead of using my blog as my outlet. She knows that if I publish to my blog, Twitter Tools will post an update to Twitter, which is linked to my Facebook profile. Why not publish my thoughts on my blog and drive traffic, instead of ignoring the site in favor of the others?

The answer lies in the time it takes for someone to blog at a conference. If I were just attending Wordcamp Raleigh as a blogger to cover the event, things might be different. I might have more time to sit down and publish an extended post about what I’ve learned. But, I’m attending as a business owner. I’m not only taking in the sessions, I’m also networking and talking business.

With Jeffrey and my girlfriend’s comments on business blogging in mind, I thought I’d pull out my iPhone, fire up the WordPress app, and do what I tell my clients to do all the time. It took me about 3-hours to fully complete this post. And, once completed, while I thought my post was saved correctly, somehow I lost the entire post and had to go back and remember everything I wrote to recreate the original intent.

I consider myself an expert on WordPress, having blogged and constructed sites on the platform for the past 8-years. Today, when it comes to blogging over mobile using WordPress for iPhone, the key word is “FAIL.”

That sure won’t happen again! Maybe an iPad will solve the problem.