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One Wild Year April 29, 2011


Tomorrow, April 30, 2011, is SocialPie’s anniversary. Thanks to all of you for coming along for the ride.

Lots has happened in the last year. Not just with SocialPie, but in every part of life. Here’s a look at handful of milestones:

1. I’ve written 52 newsletters and 142 blog posts.
2. I’ve built 29 Facebook Pages, given 8 speeches and tweeted a bazillion times.
3. SocialPie was hired by real customers to write social media strategies, and I love doing it.
4. I became a Great Aunt.
5. My husband got a job after 18 months of unemployment. He loves it, despite the commute.
6. Our dear friends,Jay and Doreen celebrated their 20st Anniversary. The pic above is from the surprise party we threw them.

Share your story. What happened to you in the last 12 months?




Two Billion is an Intimate Affair

The Service


Today the world attended a wedding. All of us together. It was magical.

And there were plenty of obstacles. Security was the tightest in history. The church smaller than it need be. The crowd as big as you can imagine. And the engagement was a mere 5 months. Oh, and the budget, it was small. OK, small-ish. William and Catherine had requested a restrained affair, even requesting charitable contributions in lieu of gifts. Many of the guests arrived at the Palace in mini-buses. That’s budget constraint. (for royalty.)

And yet the 2 billion guest who didn’t get invitations had their most intimate access ever.  We could watch on close to 100 TV channels, or on live streaming video over the Internet. We listened on satellite radio while we drove to work. Read it in the newspaper on our iPad while we were on the treadmill. We could hear the hymns before the ceremony by downloading the music. And there were at least three official websites.
Yes, I watched. I watched the whole thing. I had it on two TVs and on Twitter. My girlfriend was in London Thursday at 5:00 pm for a meeting. She bought gifts for the kids at The Queen’s Shop in Buckingham Palace 16 hours before the ceremony. And got us flags from the stand at Westminster Abbey.  I talked about it with my friends on Facebook. I downloaded the Official Wedding Program. And the kid at our evening viewing party recorded a video for the bride and groom. It was a spectacular day. We did everything but buy plane tickets and new outfits.
None of this was possible 4 years ago. The royal team did an amazing job using the media available to give us access to so much. They deserve one heck of an after party. And then there was the social part. That was extraordinary.

Here are 6 ways social platforms were used in completely new ways:

  1. The Royal Channel on YouTube did more than featured background videos and highlights of the ceremony. The team did something to really leverage YouTube’s social element. They let us upload our well-wishes to the bride and groom. It was a guest book with videos instead of signatures. No need to be present to leave your stamp. Tell me that won’t become a HUGE wedding trend.
  2. Flicker The Monarchy has a Flicker photo stream.
  3. Twitter – Multiple tweet streams were produced by the monarchy. @ClarenceHouse @BritishMonarchy were tweeting up a storm. Not to mention all the news channels and anchors tweeting and the fashion police and all of us watching.
  4. Apps iPhone apps, iPad apps both for history, pictures, relationships of the family members. And design your own dress apps. And games. Yes, even games like this one where the bride is racing to the church on time dodging horses and by-standers. There are so many I can’t even begin to link to them all.
  5. Facebook has a  Page, The Wedding Book, for the couple created by fans. The Page has 151,670 fans of it’s own. That’s in additon to the wedding’s official page, The British Monarchy.
  6. Music – Want the Royal Album, download it from iTunes.

I hope the social media team takes a vacation and then comes to a conference to speak. I’d love to hear how they pulled it all together, how big the staff was and what they’d do differently if they could.


I know there are sites I missed. What did you find?


7 Steps to Regular, Dread-free Newsletters March 24, 2011

Nearly a year ago I started sending out SocialPie’s weekly newsletter. When I started planning it, my friend Russ said, “Weekly? That’s a big commitment.” It made me step back, rethink and plunge forward anyway. Weekly, smeekly. I could handle it.

Fast forward, rubber hits the road. Weekly was a big commitment. Were there week’s I wished I’d bitten off something smaller? Yes. Have I missed a week? No (knock wood.)

At first the weekly churn from idea to article was a drag, it took so much time. Coming up with a topic, finding the resources, getting it down on the screen, editing. It all seemed to drag out and I found myself dreading it. Some week’s I was up until midnight finishing for a 5:00 AM post time. There was even one Friday morning I sprang out of bed realizing I hadn’t finished. It was discouraging.

Fast forward some more, now I have it down to a science, and that’s what I want to share with you, the process that’s evolved. With process and practice I’ve increased the speed it gets done, and that has been encouraging.

Here’s my 7 steps to regular newslettering:

  1. Bookmark an interesting article or comment.
  2. Capture random thoughts on the topic right in Emma (my newsletter platform), save the draft.
  3. Turn those thought fragments into sentences and edit.
  4. Walk away.
  5. Spell check and edit again
  6. Read aloud, edit again.
  7. Final formatting and scheduling.

This process came together over time. I can’t emphasis enough that weekly deadline I gave myself helped me hone a process. Now I turn out newsletters in 3-4 sittings, totally about 90 minutes of my time. Are they perfect, gosh no. But they ship.

Another thing that’s really helped is an editorial calendar. Within my calendar I created another “Newsletter Topics” calendar. That’s where ideas get dumped. Some week’s I get 3 ideas, but I only use 1 topic per newsletter. With the calendar I can dump the extra ideas and links to what triggered them in a convenient place. When I’m ready to write I go to the calendar to grab the ideas. It has made things much easier.

Have you struggled with the same thing? How have you handled it?


Party Planning March 23, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Life in General,Successes — Carla Bobka @ 11:55 pm
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SocialPie is approaching our 1st Anniversary.

How should we celebrate?




Be Unforgettable March 29, 2010

Filed under: Ideas,Life in General — Carla Bobka @ 6:05 pm
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This weekend friends celebrated their 20th Anniversary. Their family doesn’t really do anniversary parties, there are so many birthdays, graduations, christenings and dance recitals, that anniversaries get passed over. So our group of girlfriends decided we should have a party for them, and surprise them with a “Happy Anniversary” theme when they show up.

We have all known each other since law school (my hubby, not me) and the wives have become really close over the years. You don’t want to be in the same restaurant as us on a Girls Night Out, if you have you’ll remember us-we are the loud table.

Anyway, we concocted a plan for cocktails and were able to come up with a date that worked for everyone on the 1st try. Cheryl hosted and I worked on the menu. The kids would all come, play in the basement and eat pizza.

A cake didn’t seem like enough of a celebration, so I called Doreen’s sister and the rest of the group and got some pictures to build movie of their 20 years together. Picasa Movie Maker turns photos into a movie in a snap. Or so I thought until I realized I had twelve minutes worth of photos included! Oops. That’s a lot of memories. But hey, it’s TWENTY years.

Doreen is a huge Springsteen fan, so he was going to be the movie’s sound track. Greg (also a Bruce-a-holic) picked out “I will work for your love” and since there were so many pics, I added “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.” Both tracks had to run through twice to get through all the photos. (Note: Picasa only lets you load a single track so use Audacity to stitch together the songs to the length you need, then load that to Picasa as your single track.)

So we get to Cheryl’s on Friday night; Jay and Doreen arrive last and the kids hung a big Happy Anniversary sign that greets them at the door. We all yell “Happy Anniversary!” They are stunned, both had actually had a crummy day, so it was even better.

After we take pics and dive into the food and wine, we set up the projector and showed the movie. It was a hoot. Bruce is singing in the background, Doreen is singing along between bouts of laughter and we are all cringing at the haircuts we had. There’s a bunch of people only Jay and Doreen know, and a bunch of memories we all share together. They were really touched. They’ve had quite a life when you compact it into 12 minutes.

Today she sent out this email:

That got me thinking… What if you did this with you customer instead of your friends.

Instead of a year end review or QBR, you walked in with a Picasa movie set to music that recaps the highs and lows of the relationship between your companies?

Oh-you’re thinking, “there’s no pictures.”  I bet you can come up with some, it only needs to be 2 minutes long, think of it as the story of the last year between the two of you:

  • Start by taking pics of the sign in front of both your offices-just use your phone’s camera
  • Include a couple slides out of Power Points you’ve given over the year. They will evoke the memory of those key decisions.
  • Are there logo or branding or inventory changes that happened through that time period? Show before and afters, maybe it’s only empty shelves or closed store fronts or decommissioned servers or repainted trucks or drug launches.
  • Web site changes – do before and after screen captures from training manuals
  • Get a flip cam and interview some front line players – what do they like, what do they want for the future.
  • Snip out a couple press releases from the web on either their company or the industry
  • Put it all into Movie maker, set the whole thing to music that sets the mood for the discussion you want to have after the screen goes dark.

What do you think would happen? They will never forget you, I guarantee it.