Archive for January, 2011

me: We are talking with Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich,
a PR firm that is doing amazing work with social media
Gini, why do you use Twitter?
ginidietrich: hey now! not just social media…it’s all communication
with an emphasis on digital
why do i use twitter? other than it’s lots of fun?
it’s really helped us build credibility for
arment dietrich and traffic for spin sucks


me: How has it built credibility for your company?
ginidietrich: it’s given us the ability to expand our reach with the stroke of a key.
we’ve never before been able to work internationally because of the costs.
now we work with international partners daily.


me: That is cool. Where are your international clients from?
ginidietrich: we have clients in the UK, sweden, hong kong, and australia
oh! and canada.


me: Canada doesn’t count. Isn’t that part of the US? Ha!
ginidietrich: i feel like they are! i love canadians!


me: Ok. How has Twitter changed over the last three years?
ginidietrich: wow. it’s changed in so many ways,
but stayed the same in many others.
i always said twitter would become a place for PR people to
interact with clients, stakeholders, and media.
and i think it’s really moving there now.
but it’s also still one big networking party
that isn’t so serious all the time.


me: Let’s talk about Twitter being a fun place.
Why do you think some brands don’t see Twitter as being fun?
ginidietrich: i think it’s like what chris said when you talked to him…
they see it as another place to sell their wares
and don’t use it as a conversation tool.
it’s all one way for them
and they don’t use it appropriately.


me: Do you think brands will ever “get” Twitter?
ginidietrich: i don’t think all brands will get twitter.
it’s like anything else.
some companies succeed in spite of themselves.


me: Now for my Inside the Actor’s Studio question.
If you were running Twitter, what would you do to improve it?
ginidietrich: if i were running twitter, i’d have figured out a way to monetize already.
i’m a high twitter user and you gave me access to special features no one else had,
i’d be willing to pay for it. it’s a shame they haven’t used their own tool
to ask users what they think.


me: What sucks about Twitter?
ginidietrich: i hate auto DMs and the random tweets from people you’ve never talked to
who ask you for something because they perceive you can help them.


me: Who are the best Twitter profiles right now?
ginidietrich: as in people to follow?
me: Yup
ginidietrich: gosh…other than the two of us and the posse?
me: yes
ginidietrich: LOL


ginidietrich: OK. @dannybrown @joey_strawn @nittygriddyblog
@skypulsemedia @markwschaefer @mitchjoel
@conversationage @bethharte @abarcelos
@c_pappas @kmueller62 @bdorman264
@rachaelseda and…of course @spinsucks (run by @lisagerber)
me: Wow that is a stream


ginidietrich: i really hate questions like that because you inevitably leave someone out!
me: You’re in trouble now
Last question
What is the future of Twitter?
ginidietrich: oh i think it dies a slow death.
i actually thought it’d be dead by now…
i predicted its death last year.
it’s really surprising for a company that’s not making money to still exist.


me: Wow, you are obsessed with money
ginidietrich: it’s the only way i can buy shoes and wine!
me: And cheese dip!
Thank you so much, Gini. You are a digital rockstar.
ginidietrich: and cheese dip! love you julito!


To follow Gini, go to @ginidietrich

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me: Am with Chris Reimer, social media star.
Chris, why do you tweet?
Chris: I enjoy connecting w/ tee fans, social media fanatics,
eFriends (many of whom are now in-person friends),
I enjoy finding like-minded ppl

me: Cool. What is the biggest mistake people make on Twitter?
Chris: IMHO, it’s treating Twitter like your marketing bullhorn,
and not trying to create real relationships.
A close second? Choosing not 2 use it

me: So you think Twitter is here to stay then?
Chris: Hard to say. Myspace was once the king.
So anything is possible. Twitter may get purchased and killed.
Hard to know the future.

me: But if you had to predict?
Chris: I predict that Twitter is here to stay
for at least the next 5 years. After that, I make no promises!
I sure hope it survives, as I love it

me: Now fill in this sentence. The most engaging Twitter profile
I know is ____ because ____.
Chris: @julito77 because he stays in close contact
with his best Twitter friends.
Seriously, u put me on the spot! But you’re damn good…

me: LOL and I didn’t pay you for that
Ok a few more questions
Twitter would be better if it ___.
Chris: had less spam. There are sites like Digg
that (as far as I can tell) dont put up with spam.
It would take effort but spam could be curtailed

me: So if you were head of Twitter, you would kill spam ASAP?
Chris: I would work to curtail it, yes. Now, that opens up
a Big Brother can of worms.
I mean, if I tweet about tees, is that spam?
To some, maybe

me: Yes but do you care about people unfollowing you
or are you more worried about nurturing the people
who do follow you?
Chris: I’d rather not lose followers, especially real people.
It’s just an ego thing. But more importantly,
I care about my current followers

me: You sure do. Ok, last question. Name two or three profiles (besides you)
that are MUST FOLLOWS here on Twitter.
Chris: This is a toughie (2nd tweet coming here, hold on while I think….)
me: No worries
Chris: @michaeltomko – smart.
@AjBombers @RobustWineBar – restaurants that are killing it.
@julito77 – great engagement. One more..

me: Ok
Chris: @ladyumbrellaltd – another tee company doing great work.
Shameless plug – @FalkHarrison – I hear those guys made a good hire

me: We heard that too. Congrats, Mr. VP!
It was pleasure to chat with you here.
Go Sox!
Chris: Go Cardinals! Down with Tom Brady, ahahahahaaaaa
me: LOL
Thanks, Chris
Chris: Thank you, sir


Follow Chris on Twitter here: @RizzoTees

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Perception is reality, more often than not. When my Twitter friend Christian Henríquez shared a new cartoon with his stream, it got us thinking: Where are we going as a nation? According to some, the influx of illegal/undocumented aliens/immigrants is the biggest problem we have here in the United States. According to others (us included), the issue is so much more complicated and hints at a quick “blame game” that impacts the lives of many, honest, hard-working (and mainly Latino) families.

We came across a column in Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune that speaks about some of the issues surrounding an issue that has become quite politically and socially charged. The columnist, Tom Lyons, writes about a new immigration bill that Florida State Senator Mike Bennett is proposing and its consequences. Lyons also focuses on how GEO Group, a private jailing corporation, is profiting from detaining immigrants in Florida and other states that border Mexico.

FL Sen. Mike Bennett (R)

In regards to Senator Bennett, Lyons mockingly explores why Bennett’s proposed legislation might not be as tough as other more draconian bills, like the one in Arizona. In the column he writes:

Still, I doubted Bennett believed some legislators actually want to make racial or ethnic profiling a state-sanctioned policy. Are there really Florida lawmakers, I asked, who would ask police to treat Latinos as suspects in circumstances where a foreigner with white skin might get a free pass?”Ohhhhh, yeah,” Bennett said.

Stupid question, it turns out. I soon learned the House version of the bill originally exempted citizens of Canada, many European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Since tourists from those countries are allowed to visit for up to 90 days without a visa, backers figured that makes it OK to go after brown guys with Spanish accents but ignore potential illegals if they are blond and have French, British or German accents.

That exemption was dropped after advice that courts, and maybe even some voters, could have a problem with it.

Details, details. Whatever the methods, the aim is still to herd undocumented aliens into holding pens for deportation. And hard-core immigrant haters won’t be the only ones who don’t shed a tear.

As for GEO Group, Lyons calls them “a multinational but Boca Raton-based private prison company that makes money housing prisoners as far away as South Africa, Britain and Guantanamo, Cuba.”

Lyons continues:

GEO Group already has a federal contract in Florida to run two immigrant detention facilities — jails, that is — including the 700-bed Broward Transition Center, which houses non-felony immigrants awaiting deportation proceedings.

Then he writes something that troubles us greatly:

GEO Group has a growing stake in how states crack down on illegals. It has prisons in every state along the Mexican border, including Arizona, where locking up immigrants is a booming business now. And in Texas, GEO Group just announced an expansion of an immigrant detention facility, one of its numerous prisons there.

Now it stands to make much more money, if lawmakers keep playing along by providing immigrants in need of detention.

The column states that GEO Group has donated around $1.7 million to Florida politicians and political parties, with “$1.1 million of it going directly to the Republican Party of Florida.” He also says that GEO Group reportedly helped to craft the bill that turned into Arizona law, which is now the law that other states, like Florida, are trying to model.

The column concludes with this very troubling and revealing quote from GEO Group’s president:

GEO Group president Wayne Calabrese gave a different spin to his investors, according to a San Jose Mercury News story last year.

“Those people coming across the border and getting caught are going to have to be detained,” he said, so “there’s going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do.”

What will happen to our beloved country? Right now, the anti-immigrant momentum is gathering steam and the Latino population is the target. Are you ready to educate others about it? Are you ready to stop it? Or, as they say, will you stay quiet until the bills directly impact you?

God help America.

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me: Here’s the key: 140 character questions
and 140 character answers could be less
Justin: glad to
let’s go!

me: ok
here we go
Why do use Twitter?
Justin: I use twitter to connect with people, build relationships
and to hear other people stories and wisdom!

me: What do you like best about Twitter?
Justin: Twitter let’s us talk to anyone! I mean Twitter let me meet you, Julio.
Twitter gives you a voice. The deer now have guns!

me: Ha!
Ok, what sucks about Twitter?
Justin: People who think Twitter is just about spamming, auto dming
or that it’s all numbers! It sucks that people don’t get that it’s about relationships

me: Got it
What would be your ideal dream version of Twitter?
Justin: That there would be no spam and people would openly talk
about life and help each other with making their dreams happen!
me: Nice answer

me: My favorite Twitter profile is ____ because _____.
Justin: My favorite Twitter profile is @samtaracollier
because she is kinda new to Social Media but she gets it!
She is smart and great writer!

me: What is the greatest thing that happened to you on Twitter?
Justin: I have found people like
@ginidietrich @jeffmello @ChicagoDiane
@adriandayton and @samtaracollier who I now call friends!
I have also found clients

me: Aw, that’s sweet.
Last question: Where is Twitter going? What will it be like in a year?
Justin: Unless people start seeing
the value in building relationships
and actively pursuing new relationships
Twitter will be a iGhost Town
me: Thanks, Justin!

To Follow Justin on Twitter, visit @JustInTheSouth

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While covering the social media saga of author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, several of our readers had emailed us to see if we could find more information about famed Hollywood attorney Marty Singer, who was hired by Encanto Productions’ Ann Lopez to ensure that Valdes-Rodriguez cease from posting her opinions and thoughts on social media about the TV adaptation of her book, THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB.

According to its website, Singer’s firm, Lavely & Singer, is “one of the world’s premier talent-side entertainment litigation firms.” The profile on its website continues with this quote:

First, we represent clients against the tabloids and other media and internet outlets in disputes which arise prior to, as well as after, the publication of articles which defame the clients or invade their privacy. We also police the manner in which the names and likenesses of our clients are commercially exploited throughout the world. Second, we represent clients in the resolution and litigation of a broad range of entertainment industry disputes including copyright and other intellectual property disputes, contract breaches, and business torts.

It is clear that Brooklyn native Singer, nicknamed “The Mad Dog,” knows his stuff and understands that in the entertainment business, you got to be tough. His actions in representing Ann Lopez resulted in a rather detailed retraction and correction by Valdes-Rodriguez regarding her social media fight with Lopez. Occasionally, Valdes-Rodriguez has tweeted and posted some updates about her situation, but it is no longer as detailed or frequent, when compared to the period between December 23, 2010 until January 6, 2011.

Singer’s web page also includes a section called RAGING BULLS, where the following excerpts and quotes a 2000 Los Angeles Magazine article are included:

  • “What these lawyers possess is the proven ability to go all the way, to a jury trial if necessary, and play by whatever rules are laid down to save their client’s freedom or fortune in a civil or criminal matter. On the other hand, when one of them makes a phone call or sends a demand letter, arguments are often settled quickly … and quietly.”
  • “I’ll make one call to a publicist to check out a tip,” growls New York Post Page Six editor Richard Johnson, “and pretty soon I get a hand-delivered letter from Singer threatening all sorts of disasters and financial damages.”
  • “Marty is a heavy hitter, but he’s reasonable,” claims [National Enquirer Editor Steve] Coz in a careful tone. “He’s one of the few that ‘gets it’–his clients need the press every bit as much as the press needs his clients.”

As with any lawyer, Singer has his web critics, and some of his letters have been publicly shared online. Here are some of those links.

Yes, Singer is the real deal when it comes to a lawyer who will fight for a client. Which leads us to this question: What about the countless of social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook who shared their unfiltered opinions about Valdes-Rodriguez and Lopez? We saw tweets that used profanity to insult Lopez, Encanto and NBC from social media accounts who expressed their anger and passion about the story. Will Singer go after them as well? And if so, what recourse does he have to tell other social media accounts to stop their expression of opinion and free speech? We are in interesting times, when news and opinion flows as quick as a WIFI connection. Will printed hard copy legal letters still have its effect?

As you know, we declared Valdes-Rodriguez a “social media winner,” which is quite different from saying that she won her battle with Lopez. Valdes-Rodriguez was savvy and understood that if her message got out in social media, it would take a life of its own. We also believe that Lopez could have used social media to answer the allegations instead of doing business the old-fashioned Hollywood way. Sure, Singer has very likely won the legal war, but the little mini-battles that happened in the social media space were all won by Valdes-Rodriguez.

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Out first short story submission to #LatinoLit was sent to us by author Gilberto González, a Philadelphia native who writes about life in his city. Born of Puerto Rican parents, González grew up in Philadelphia and understands fi rst-hand the racism and hardships facing the Latino community. “Going through high school was tough. Going through college was tougher,” he said. González did not let adversity slow him down. After receiving an associate degree of fi ne arts from Community College of Philadelphia, he continued his education at University of the Arts, where he earned a bachelor degree in graphic design. In 1989, González tapped his personal motivation and graphic design skills in order to create Cinco Graphics at the Taller Puertorriqueño, a professional training program that allowed high school students to prepare for college or the workforce in graphic design.

#LatinoLit Author Gilberto González


by Gilberto González

One summer I walked out of my house, a typical Philadelphia row home. Here everyone knows your business because the walls are thin and everyone is always hanging outside. This day the Kensington streets were crowded when I noticed across the street this amazing girl. We looked at each other and smiled. She was half white and half Puerto Rican. She had light brown hair, very soft white skin, she was a little taller than me, slim, with a nice full ass. I normally would never walk up to a girl because I was shy, but for some reason, I decided to talk to her.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She replied, “Damaris, Maria’s sister.”

“Why are you here?”

She replied, “Babysitting my big sister’s kids for the summer.”

“Why are you so pretty?”

She just smiled and said, “Because my mother made me that way.”

After that first encounter at North Howard Street we were in separable. Every evening, once she finished babysitting her sister’s kids, I would walk her home. She lived about four blocks from my house on 5th and Berks.  Her family lived on the second floor of an apartment building. After a few weeks of walking her home, I became a fixture at her door stoop. When it was time for her to eat dinner we would get up and stand in the foyer of the building. With the doors closed we would start to kiss and the kiss would seem to last a long time. Her lips were soft, not too wet or too dry, and she covered my lips from top to bottom. From the moment she pressed her lips to mine it felt nice. It was one of the best kisses I ever had.

One evening she told me that she confessed to her mom that she loved me and that she wanted me to come into the house. That evening I was allowed upstairs. I met her family and they all seemed to like me. Her mom was Puerto Rican but her father, the white guy, did not live with them. Instead, her mom introduced this little black guy as her stepfather. So now I was introduced to everyone in the house and we sat to eat dinner.

A bit later, during dinner, I asked to use the bathroom. I walked up the dark hallway up to the third floor. Once inside, as I stood at the toilet, I looked around and I saw all the normal things including some picture frames. They were images of barns and the frames were the kind you would see in every household in Philadelphia. They were a pair of black, plastic vine frames. As I was standing in front of the toilet, I noticed a roach crawl behind one of pictures. I thought I’d do Damaris and her family a favor and kill the bug. So I hit the frame in attempts to kill the thing. But, when I hit the frame, roaches came out crawling in all directions. All this happened as I started to urinate. While in a panic about the bugs, I tried to keep control of my bladder. As the roaches ran all over the place I urinated on the rug, the sidewall, the top of the toilet; it was everywhere. Once the roaches disappeared and found new hiding places I began to clean the bathroom. As I was cleaning I soon noticed these dark rings in the toilet and that this was not the cleanest bathroom. As I left the bathroom I began to see bugs all over the house, and that did it for me. I soon realized that Damaris and her family were not the cleanest people in the world. If my mom saw a roach in our house she would scream and beat the bug to hell. I was not a snot but moms tend to pass on their practices to their children and being clean was something my mom beat into me until I got married.

After that, I could no longer look at my sweet-lipped honey without seeing bugs. I walked her home a few more times, but I would refuse to go into that apartment. She would get upset with me and cry. She would asked me  “if I was no longer interested in her.” or “Did you find someone else?”

She cried, and for weeks her family was angry with me. I could not tell her or her family the truth.  I could not tell them that her house filled with bugs grossed me out. Her family continually asked me why am I playing with her. But all I could say was, “Sorry.”

Copyright @2010 Gilberto González

To learn more about Gilberto, here is his story from MyLatinoVoice.

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So, we started thinking: How can you make #FollowFriday on Twitter a little more interesting and a little less annoying? Yes, we are of the camp that although we think the #FollowFriday tradition is a great idea, the way most Twitter profiles execute it: with following streams of Twitter profiles that don’t even list why you would even follow the person in the first place. People, brands, and bots, we CAN do much better.

Then it hit us. Why not start a new series on this blog where we ask engaging Twitter profiles questions in 140 characters or less, and then that profile needs to answer the questions in less than 140 characters. Hence starts #140Chat. (FYI: This idea was inspired, okay somewhat stolen!, by what my dear friend @ginidietrich does on her blog each Friday: write about one Twitter profile to follow each week. That is cool.)

The guidelines for #140Chat will be simple:

  1. We will choose an interesting Twitter profile from our stream.
  2. We will DM that profile and make a #140Chat request.
  3. We will have the actual interview of 140 character exchanges via a chat client, like Google Chat.
  4. We will save the interview and the post it on our blog.

Simple as that. Who’s in?

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