Friday, March 27, 2009

New Media Cincinnati: Come Check Us Out!!

Ghost Twittering and the Evolution of Exchange

Thoughts buzzing in my brain this afternoon center around the question of content authenticity. The New York Times was one of many media outlets to post articles recently on the uncovering of ghost writers in the Twitterverse. "When Stars Twitter, Ghosts are Lurking" by Noam Cohen sheds light on the true "voice" behind the 140 character messages tweeted by 50 Cent, Britney Spears, Kayne West and others.

The question becomes do we really care? I have written many times regarding my strong beliefs in personal branding and having a unified message that is consistent with how one wants to be represented in the world. This is especially true for individuals who are considered public personalities. Messages on Twitter should all be part of the promotion package: the well-oiled machine that keeps them large and bold-faced in the comment cloud of net existence. If the personality is unable to keep the machine running on their own and needs to hire a staff, then so be it. The lack of "authentic" voice may or may not be a problem for the follower depending upon what the follow relationship was at the start.

What happens though, when ghost-twittering becomes a bigger business, with those talented with type, taking on several clients at a time? Will they be able to keep their "brands" straight without crossing backgrounds or messages? The following quote from the NY Times article was stated by Annie Colburn, a free-lance writer and one of the two ghost Twitterers for noted New Media Consultant, Guy Kawasaki:

I don’t think I could ghost Twitter for 100 people,” she said. “More like 10 clients. I think I would have to get to know them.”

Wow! Talk about dilution of brand equity! If we ever do get to the point where writers are handling mass numbers of clients' daily tweets and losing the essence of who they are, then we might as well all click the unfollow button. And for the record, I would hope that a ghostwriter of any sort would "know" their client.

Here are some thoughts that I had in response to a blog post entitled Social Media Authenticity on the Newmediacy Blog:

You raise some great questions here. For me, the authenticity becomes key dependent upon who is "speaking" or disseminating the information and what my relationship is to the speaker. I have no problem with a "personality" using a staff of ghost writers, assuming they are fully aligned to the essence of their subject.....Read the rest of my comment post here.

I see communication as two facets in my life: the first as a method of basic information sharing and the second, as a genuine exchange of ideas, sentiments, and debate between two authentic people having forged a real connection. Social Media is all about making that connection; for it is in the exchange, that change occurs and the evolution continues.

What do you think?

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009


Interesting that just last night I returned to the topic of courage and this morning I find an email from my favorite poet and Zen Master, Joe Zarantello, owner of Loose Leaf Hollow, on the very same subject. I wrote a piece on courage a couple of years ago when I was experiencing something difficult in my life and my then 10 year old daughter pasted a copy of the poem on her Scrapbook room door (see door pic):

Courage is standing up for what you believe in the face of others who dont share your same views. It is forging forward into the darkness because you know that you have to. Courage is putting on a smiling face in the center of tragedy because you know that you have to stand strong for others when you really just want to collapse on the floor and sob uncontrollably.

Courage is putting others needs before your own and believing that humankind will be better for your efforts. It is believing in yourself and actually becoming the person that God intrinsically calls you to be. If we all showed even an ounce of courage, imagine what a wonderful world this would truly be. There would be absolutely no need for the small, rotund man from Kansas with the big booming voice.

I was reading Courage aloud to her from its place on her locked door (she was mad at me for enforcing her bed-time and wanted to keep me from entering to tuck her in.) Halfway through, she opened the door and showing great courage, expressed her deep feelings on thinking that she was old enough to ante up her school night bed-time. We had a wonderful mother-daughter conversation and ended the night on a positive note. That poem has lasted on her door for 2 straight years, sharing space with many other important parts of her life, including her Twilight fascination! And as for the new bed time, we'll see............................

What does courage mean to YOU????

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I saw this phrase “…collision of professional and personal worlds” as part of a blog post entitled theBlurring Lines of Work and Lifeby Len Devanna. What happens when you make your total life a personal on-line reality series? What are the losses and gains that occur when you can be accessed and examined 24/7? I have been trying to determine if my uneasiness with the internet privacy issue is due to my age or to my own unique set of personality traits. I have a problem with posting all of my social media site contact information on each of my profiles for complete life cross-referencing. Many people have large lists detailing every possible way in which to connect with them: Facebook, Delicious, LinkedIn, Flickr, Blog site, Website, Twitter. The list goes on and on.

I like to keep my contacts categorized between business and personal social media sites with a few select people walking the tight rope between both of my worlds. I have always been an extremely private person, yet at the same time, I am highly extroverted and have a very likeable and approachable personality. This is a very fine line to operate under.

A great point was made by a friend of mine. He stated that if someone meets him at a business networking event and asks to “friend” him on Facebook, he ignores the request rationalizing that no-one could truly become his friend after a ten minute conversation. I just channel similar requests to my professional networking site, LinkedIn. My Facebook is a place for me to hang out and let my hair down with friends and family. I tend to post lots of pictures, especially from my high school and college years; a veritable “remember when?” collage. I also love to share music videos for favorite bands, some of my creative writing and links to interesting articles. I just don’t need the Vice President of P&G- Tremor to be my friend and pore over my private life unless of course we knew each other way back growing up.

I am a true marketer and I believe that when presenting the brand that is YOU to the public, perception is totally within the eye of the beholder. This is why I believe so strongly in personal branding and being cognizant of knowing who you are and how you want to be represented in the world. Let’s face it; everything on the net is fair game for anyone on the globe to discover about you. We all need to be aware of the dangers of trigger-finger posting and take the time to reflect on whether that Tweet, Blog Comment or public response to a LinkedIn question really captures the essence of who we are and what we are comfortable with sharing about ourselves: our brand identity.

One’s ‘net-print’ runs deep and lasts forever. A hasty post without thought can have repercussions that may last a long time. Stories already abound of people who have come to regret earlier posts that were rants or derogatory statements toward a particular organization or institution. Offers have been rescinded, positions lost and reputations massacred in the public eye. Picture comments you post on Flickr, or stopping by to leave some love on a favorite Blog might not mesh with the professional image you are trying to maintain on LinkedIn or one of the other business-oriented social media sites.

So, if you want your life to be fully displayed on the net through the use of blogging, micro-blogging, pod-casting, vlogging, social network site hopping, etc., then just take some time to determine how you want to be perpetually recorded. Remember, if you wouldn’t want your mother to see your ‘net-print’, then perhaps it’s just not appropriate to post.

As for me, I will continue to keep my professional and personal lives as separate as possible and will do an instant replay in my head before I hit the post button.

Here’s hoping you live a long virtual life with minimal regrets!

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2009


Back to destiny. Interesting how this topic keeps re-surfacing. In fact, I had another long discussion with an old friend about this very thing earlier tonight, but I digress………..

Chain of events- how many times do we make a decision about something spurred on by a random occurrence? What if that occurrence wasn’t random? I believe that everything happens for a reason and that clues that can guide our lives are scattered about if we only have the intuitive eye with which to see.

An example: Several months ago, out of nowhere, my daughter developed a barking cough which seemed to get worse during certain times of the day. First diagnosis was left-over bronchial infection. Since the symptoms occur when she is active, i.e. gym class, Lacrosse, Volley ball practice (places where I am not around), I didn’t hear the cough after the initial few weeks. Out of range, out of mind. So after playing phone tag with the doctor for a week, I totally forgot about the situation. So yesterday morning, I entered her room to wake her up and she didn’t respond. I called her name loudly several times and she just didn’t move (which is totally unusual as she is a light sleeper). In a millisecond of panic, I thought, OMG, she’s dead! But then she moved and got out of bed. I brushed it off as nothing and promptly forgot the whole scene. That was random clue number 1.

Later, during my pre-work coffee, I glanced down and saw a tiny section at the bottom of the front Metro Section of the Cincinnati Enquirer. It was a picture of a lovely woman that I had met last fall and had several subsequent phone conversations with. The article reported her untimely death the day before due to an asthma attack. Random Clue number 2 was too strong to be random.

Most people don’t know that I am highly intuitive (dare I say, “psychic”?). I phoned the Allergy/Asthma doctor and described what had been going on with my daughter and they immediately diagnosed her with possible exercise-induced asthma brought on by allergies and put her on three inhaler medications to test this theory.

Would something unfortunate have happened that night when she went to a rigorous Lacrosse Practice? I’ll never know, but I am glad that we have taken uncertainty out of the equation.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009


How cool is it to have a crash lesson on WordPress at midnight from the comfort of my home, ponytail and sweats as my working uniform?? My instructor, Daniel Johnson, Jr., in his home office in some other part of our fair city guiding me through the process. Using Dim-Dim Web Conferencing and Skype for chat capabilities (yes, we could have just been on our phones- but hey, might as well go high tech all the way around!), we edited a piece that I had posted to the New Media Cincinnati Web site. Daniel was able to show me, via his computer screen, some of the extra functions that Word Press has to offer as well as how to edit the HTML that he had loaded onto the site. We also went over some key ways to increase the "Google Juice" factor for searches and other SEO tips.

Last item to take care of was to create an RT (Re-Tweet) capability for readers to be able to immediately re-post to Twitter and have the link-back URL as a "" which has incredible tracking capabilities as Daniel showed me on his computer screen. As 12:30 a.m. approached, I have to admit that my brain was starting to shut down. So we called it a night (morning?) and signed off.

Anyone that has met Daniel knows that he is passionate about New Media. His excitement and enthusiasm shines through in every New Media Cincinnati Meet-Up. He has a strong desire to help others in so many ways (community outreach, "How I Got My Job" Podcast, etc.) and I am very fortunate to be traveling the net highway with him as my own New Media OnStar plan!

We are at an incredible time in our lives, where the world is shifting by quantum leaps into a new way of communicating and connecting quickly across the globe. I'm just thrilled to be along for the ride!

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009


New Media enthusiasts came together once again for the March Meet Up for the group New Media Cincinnati at The Pub at Rookwood Mews on 3/14. The luck of the Irish was in the air and organizer Daniel Johnson Jr. was creating his Social Media magic while working the near capacity crowd with Ustream capturing the action. Approximately 55 people came together to network, drink spirits and listen to the five Jolt presenters who spoke on topics that they were passionate about for five to 10 minutes each. The presenters and topics were:

  • John Buehler, "Communicating Your Web Presence"
  • Kristin Beireis, "How Social Is Too Social?"
  • Andy Erickson, "University of Cincinnati's Center of Innovation Efforts"
  • Heath Parks, "Starting a video blog and learning how to encode for the web"
  • Vickie Sciefers: “Changes in Facebook”

John Buehler talked about the site that he is working on that will allow for one-stop shopping for all your social media information. He is looking for people to test it out, so give him a shout on Twitter if you are interested.

Kristin Beireis talked about Social Media Etiquette and keeping a balance between business and personal information. “We don’t want to know your bathroom habits!”

Andy Erickson spoke about his passion for creating a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cincinnati.

Heath Parks spoke about video blogs and best sites and camera equipment to use.

Vickie Sceifers talked about the changes in Facebook formatting and talked about frustrations that people were having with the site.

The discussion was lively and group members walked away with some great information, new friendships and additional business contacts. We recorded a group shout-out for Ustream and Daniel spent some of the open network time recording individual participant shout-outs for later broadcast.

The question was raised regarding “What brought you to the Meet Up?”
The number one answer was: “NETWORKING” followed by “Friend”- which is just more networking in the WOM vein. Other answers included: the Scene, Love for social media, Twitter, New Media Cincinnati Web site, The Force Newsletter, Learning and Daniel Johnson, Jr..

See you next month for the April 11th Meet Up. Stay tuned for upcoming details.

Michelle Beckham

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interesting Analogy: Social Media to Buffet Table

This article recently made the internet rounds to find itself before me. "Social Media Is Like a Buffet Table: Making Your First Plate -Then Going Back for More" These were my thoughts after reading:

Wow- what a great visual!! I think the beauty of this analogy is in the simplicity of the message. There are so many opportunities to use social media tools to build business (especially in the small to mid-size business arenas), but many of these folks either just don't get it or become completely overwhelmed by the plethora of opportunities. The description of social media tools and corresponding choices as compared to a buffet table is a great universal image that most can relate to. I plan to use this analogy when I talk to potential clients for whom the message just isn't clicking in.

Have you ever tried explaining Twitter to the unitiated? Watch the blank look pass over their eyes as they try to fathom what the hell you are talking about. Gotta work on my Twitter elevator pitch!!!

Follow me @michellebeckham and let me know your thoughts.

Copyright: Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Esme Kenney: Bright Light Extinguished by Pure Evil

I haven't been able to write for days. Actually, I take that back. I wrote one paragraph that has been sitting open in Word for this entire week. Too frozen to post it, too frozen to move beyond it. So now in the sunshine of today, I dare to finally release this and will share the reasons why this was so hard at the end. See you in a few................................

What does it take to rip your world apart,
To tear your heart into shreds that are pulsating
With so much pain that you can’t take a breath on your own?
You get the news that no one EVER wants to hear:
"Your child is missing and has been found murdered”
The pain is searing
Hell has arrived
You just can’t go on……………………


I was completely and utterly struck silent and numb due to the horrific crime that brought pen to paper. News stories touch all of us in some way, but when you happen to know the people who are involved either directly or indirectly, it just hits you that much harder.

The crime (see Cincy Enquirer article): an attack on a 13yr old girl who was jogging around a reservoir in Cincinnati directly across the street from her family home. She was attacked by a convicted sex offender and serial killer who had been recently kicked out, yes I said KICKED OUT, of a Half-way house. He killed her and set fire to her body after taking her iPod and watch, following a similar pattern in previous attacks.

Esme Kenney was a 7th grader at the School for Performing & Creative Arts in Cincinnati, extremely talented and a joy in everyone's life. Her mother Lisa Siders-Kenney is an artist and part of the same writing organization that I have been affiliated with: Women Writing for (a) Change.

The day Esme went jogging was an unseasonable March afternoon with temperatures nearing 80 degrees, a precursor more to summer than a hint of spring day. Her attacker was found asleep just 100 yards away from where her body was hidden in thick woods.

My prayers are with the Kenney family as they face the incredible loss of their vivacious daughter. Please take the time to send prayers and energy their way. And if you have a kid, make sure you give them another hug- just because. I have a 7th grade daughter and my heart is breaking.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Just wanted to make sure I put out the link to our wonderful group: New Media Cincinnati. Check us out here! We meet on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Great learning and networking event!

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Finally some creative writing in the form of a story-this one based on an actual conversation:

Destiny/Religion Discussion- he started it. LOL

Walking along the leaf strewn pathway in silence, he suddenly turned to her and said in an almost breathless voice which belied the quiet gait in which they had been traveling, “There’s one question at the heart of existence. Do we walk the road or does the road walk us?”

Smiling, she stopped and tilted her head upwards towards the sun, feeling its warmth encompass her face. “Back to destiny I see.” She was referring to the recent conversation that had escalated into a heated debate three weeks before. They had both seen the movie Slumdog Millionaire prior to its 8 Academy Award honors, and the movie’s under riding theme of destiny, coupled with his search for meaning in his own life had brought them to the discussion.

“The answer is that WE walk the road,” she said.


“Because we are in control. We have free will that enables us to make choices. We can jump off the highway at any time.”

“Can we really?” He kicked at a small grey rock that lay in the center of the path. It went airborne and skipped twice before landing in the long grass to the right of the walkway.

She turned to him and said, “I believe so. I guess it depends on whether you feel that you are in control of your life or not.”

“So, smart one, does control of the means equate to control of the end?” He smiled slyly, hoping to trap her into a conundrum.

“Yes, of course,” she answered back quickly and raced ahead of him chasing the shadows that were falling from the trees lining the path.

“Strange view for a Christian to have!” he panted as he caught up to her, his long legs falling back into step with her shorter ones. She ignored him, knowing exactly where he was going to take this argument.

He continued on with a different tactic:“Sooo, is the future static or dynamic?” She looked up into his green eyes; eyes that once upon a time could look down into the depths of her soul and she froze for a moment. Memories came flooding back and emotions began to swirl. She took a deep breath and banished them back down into the deepness of the past: a place that was no longer talked about.

“Dynamic of course!” she said, smiling sweetly, hoping the rip in the fabric of her stoicism didn’t show.

“Of course?” he replied. “What do you mean, of course?”

She replied, “Yes, how could it be static? Static means unchanging.

He replied, “Yes it does. Maybe the future is as concrete as the past.”

To be continued....

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin

My Life: Blessed

Right now my life is unbelievably busy, but in a wonderfully blessed way! I enjoy my work, my family and my friends. I do feel quite remiss at neglecting the frequency of my posts on here, which in a sense means that I am neglecting my inner peace. Writing is a release and a joy for me, so I must not be honoring my Lenten promise to spend some Social Network time with myself. However, I am having a total blast reconnecting with people from my very, very distant past. People who came in to my life for a blink of an eye, and who I never thought I would ever cross paths with again. Now we are conversing on Facebook and following each other on Twitter- (follow me here: ) how very cool. I will have to write a piece just on these incredible social media personal experiences. Considering that I lived all over the US growing up, it would be interesting to see just how many people I could connect my past to. Gotta have a good memory for names, faces, and places- and fortunately my analytical brain cranks at high gear!

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin