Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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Nothing is free anymore. Don’t be fooled.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a Red Sox fan, and yes, I’m was also an Obama supporter. (Let the comments fly — feel free!). Red Sox fans love to see their team celebrated. So to see them at the White House with the president is just a wonderful thing.

As I watched the live stream of the event, I saw an unbelievable moment when Big Papi himself, David Ortiz, presents POTUS with an “Obama” Red Sox shirt and stops the action to take a selfie with the President who was happy to do so. So here’s this great selfie that I loved and had to retweet, along with nearly 40,00 other fans.

But today, it turns out the April Fools joke was on me and so many others. Apparently the selfie that appeared to be a spontaneous moment full of fun and good humor was once again, sponsored. Yes, that’s right. Just like the multi-million retweeted Ellen/Oscar celeb selfie, this was also pre-arranged as a promo for Samsung.

Now I know that brands have lots of power and they also rely on their advertising and marketing to make a profit. Yup, I get it. But I feel duped and disappointed to learn that this was not a good-hearted, spur-of-the-moment thing. Instead, it’s just another way for a big brand to capitalize on a great moment.

Seems to me even social media is all about the money now, and it’s becoming more apparent by the day.  What a shame.

UPDATE: In this morning’s Boston Globe, David Ortiz vehemently denies that the photo was pre-planned. I certainly hope that is the case. I think we all want to believe that these kinds of magical moments still happen. And if it is true, leave it to Big Papi to be the one to make us all believe they can.


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What a week: Bomber tweets, Manhunts, and Big Papi’s F-Bomb

b_strong_blueAs I sit here on a Sunday morning with my coffee, I’m trying to make sense of one incredible week. Earlier this week I wrote about the Boston Bombing. That was the beginning of a whirlwind week, culminating on Friday with a manhunt the likes of which this country has never seen.

I, like so many Americans, sat glued to the TV all day and night Friday. It was difficult to think, even more difficult to work. To me, when you work in social media, it seems a bit trivial to conduct business as usual. I find it a little strange to be tweeting, “Don’t forget your sunscreen,” when the entire city of Boston is in a first-of-its-kind lock down and a terrorist is being hunted by thousands of officers.

So I tweeted and posted on Facebook to show our support for Boston and sent messages of hope and safety to all the officers working so hard to protect us and sharing important news and updates. While working, I had CNN on in the background, unable to tear myself away from this historical event.

During the coverage, CNN showed tweets from Suspect #2’s Twitter account. While the Twitter name was blurred out, I and other viewers were able to make it out enough to figure it out and find his account. And what a chill I got. The thought that I and anyone else interested was able to read the thoughts of a cold-blooded killer through social media just kind of, well, freaked me out!jahar tweets

To think that two days after the bombing, after killing innocent people, he actually tweeted this: “I’m a stress free kind of guy.” Wow. There were other tweets, like telling another Twitter user that a story and photo he posted about the bombing was a fake story, and another talking about buying something on the black market.

I’ve often thought that social media was a wonderful way to share information, meet people and bring people together virtually. The thought that you could read the tweets of an evil mind was just so far out of my thought process, the reality felt like a slap across the face this week.

But the good side of social media spoke loud and clear as once again social media exploded when the news of the capture came at 8:45 p.m. Friday. While as we watched people in Boston and Watertown cheering the police, the capture was confirmed by an amazing tweet from the Boston Police Department: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

Ahhh. There it is. Once again, through social media we all unite, we connect, and we know the truth, even though a lot of false information may be out there. It’s important to weed through the info and find the true facts.

The whole country was pulled together throughout the week. Yankee Fans were singing “Sweet Caroline” in Yankee Stadium (seriously??? LOL!). Boston Strong became the tagline and the hashtag that represented an entire community coming together, strong, resilient, not letting go of its freedom or its ability to return to normalcy. So much expressed in two simple words.

And so on Saturday, the Boston Red Sox took to the field. It was an amazing opening ceremony kicked off by a moving and emotional slide show accompanied by the Jeff Buckley’s version of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah.” Volunteers from the Boston Marathon took to the field, members of the Boston Police Department, the Police Commissioner, Governor Patrick and so many others. As Red Sox fans joined together to sing the National Anthem and wave their Boston Strong signs, the world came together, again, united and celebrating. I sat watching from home, with tears streaming down my face, emotional, grateful for all the work of those amazing officers who risked their lives to capture the suspect. Tears flowing down my face, with sympathy for those injured and lost, and happiness that the terror was over.

The ceremonial first pitches were tossed by heroes like the off-duty firefighter who rushed to the scene to save lives, the brother who sheltered his sisters from the blast and was injured himself, and the father who pushes his son in his wheelchair in the Marathon every year for 31 years. Heroes. And the tweets went crazy.

And then Big Papi, David Ortiz, took to the field with a microphone. And he said some wonderful words, and then he briefly summed up the entire week in two sentences And while I don’t usually swear in blog posts or on social media, this one deserves repeating: “This is our fucking city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom.” Fenway Park simply erupted with cheers.

Well said, Papi! And while I thought he would be fined for his live television F-Bomb, I was thrilled to see this tweet from the FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski: FCC tweet

Amen! All is at it should be. We are America, we are strong, we will not be defeated. It’s too bad it takes a tragedy to bring a country together and support each other, even if social media makes it easier.

One amazing, emotional, historical week. What will you remember most from this week?


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The return of baseball season

Phoebe Red SoxBaseball season started on April Fools Day this year, and for this diehard Red Sox fan, it was a day that didn’t disappoint. My beloved Red Sox beat our rival Yankees in the season opener. While it’s been a week of ups and downs on the field, the real season doesn’t start for me until the Sox take to that magical field at home, in historic Fenway Park.

So I’ll be taking the afternoon “off” on Monday to root, root, root for the home team and maybe even indugle in a hot dog. With temperatures in the 60s in New England, it will be perfect weather to cheer on the Sox and look forward to the next 150+ games.

And during the home opener, I cannot tear myself away to monitor the social media I manage on a regular basis. As we know, social media never sleeps. So tomorrow will be a strange day, where I’ll take the afternoon off to enjoy watching all the opening day festivities at Fenway and then reconnect with the virtual community tomorrow evening.

Perhaps that’s the real beauty of social media — it doesn’t matter what time you sign on, because someone is always there. So how does baseball relate to social media?  (Yes, this is a stretch, but I have to celebrate the return of my boys of summer.)

Keep your eye on the ball. One of the first things a coach will teach you is never take your eye off the ball. In social media, that’s your strategy. Don’t forget what you’re trying to do in the social world. It should be your coach for every swing you’re taking.

You CAN hit it out of the park. You usually won’t get a home run with your first post on a social network, but that shouldn’t stop you from swinging. Don’t miss batting practice — take time to meet people and listen in social media. They’re telling you a lot.

You could be on the all-star team. There will always be people out there who are considered the go-to people, the experts, the all-stars of social media. But that team changes daily. Who says it can’t be YOU on this year’s all-star team?

So here’s to a great baseball season, and here’s to a winning social media season for you!