Just An Online Minute... Endings Are Really Beginnings... Or Something Like That
I have tried to write this a good 80 times this week. When thanking people that I met through this beat who inspire and influence me, whom I grew to trust, whom I could share an inappropriate laugh or story with, people who were beacons of real in the murky waters of the ultimate schmoozefests -- well, I didn't want to leave anyone out. But I'm afraid I will. So I get word-stunted. Keep in mind I'm a shower thinker, so if I have left you off, realize I'll kick myself in the shower later, which will be more frequent in the near future since I'll actually have to go into an office.
How did this column even come about, you ask? Well, I actually got hired MediaPost for my social media experience, but then managed to weasel my way into the editorial team by shooting some of our events and writing goony captions in the Flickr sets. The Big Bosses liked my style, liked the idea of a party and events column, seemed to dig my shooting skills as well, and this version of Just An Online Minute was born (this column has been reincarnated many times). I remember MediaPost Publisher Ken Fadner coming to my desk (which was in a key location at that time: next to the toilet) and saying "You know this means you have to go out every night - think you can handle that?" I was all fresh-livered and eager, already dreaming about that press pass getting me access to the most delicious events.
Oh, please, I was terrified, too. I had managed to convince the team at our own events that I was Little Miss Outgoing, but the thought of not only attending parties full of people I didn't know but also attending as the reporter, not the actual party guest, scared the crap out of me. Thank goodness I had this amazing black crutch and conversation-starter: my Canon, which has rescued me from many uncomfortable situations.
It became easier as my path was crossed by real, honest, hard-working, people like Matt Van Hoven, who used to write for AgencySpy. I met him at a party at the old Buddy Media office and we became fast friends. The same goes for Joe Ciarallo, who was also at the Buddy Media party that night. Both, from that night on, were a relief to find at some of the most ritzy events -- just normal dudes in a sea of schmooze.
Sure, MediaPost has an office, but my real office was the New York night and that's where I found my unofficial coworkers. It's because of an I Heart PRNewser party that I met M Booth's Alyssa Galella and Frani Lieberman and it was because of a SocialVibe Tweetup (where I had forgotten to put the battery in my camera) that I met Karen Ram, who is now with Attention. Actually, that SocialVibe Tweetup was full of people from what I like to call my freshman year out here: Joe Marchese, Adam Broitman, Kristen Bryan, Josh Sternberg (another keeper - if you want honest, bright, and sometimes Phish-filled conversation, talk to Josh), and Jenean Chapman.
And really, who could forget the OG of +1s, Gail Hilton, of Thought Equity Motion? Persia Tatar is another one -- we met as coworkers at MediaPost, and she's moved around like crazy, now doing biz dev at Attention, and continuing as founder of The Social Media Society. Persia is one of the hardest-working people I know and still finds time to create art. Tameka Kee is another one. Again, we found each other at MediaPost and continue to be in each others' lives. Tameka inspires me daily and she is a woman to benchmark, to hunt down if you want a quality, no-BS, no-puffy-girl-power flowerisms, just hardcore, elbow grease and business-savvy advice and guidance.
I'll miss Hearst Corporation and their many magazine events that kept me in pesto-crusted filets and lip gloss. I'll miss NYWIFT and their inspiring luncheons that made me, if only temporarily, want to dump my material possessions and change the world. I'll miss IFC for their quirky "slightly off" events. I'll miss the "weeks": Advertising Week, which nearly killed me every year, and Social Media Week (which is right around the corner!). I'll miss being accused of cynicism when questioning the validity of award shows and panels rather than following blindly.
Because of MediaPost, I have covered every inch of this island at every hour of the night, I have sampled (and gorged myself on) the best food these neighborhoods have to offer, I have shared drinks with CEOs, founders, creative, techies, artists, photographers, rappers, crooners, comedians, actors, musicians, and crashers. I went from an insular internal IBMer to an overexposed night elf. I've surfed the wave of buzzwords like transparent, genuine, and crowd-sourcing to hashtags like #crushit and #rockit (dibs on #VomIt).
I can't thank MediaPost enough, sincerely, for the opportunities this column opened up for me. My job made it possible for me to carry on a three-year-long love affair with this city and all of you. And I have to thank you, the readers, for creating an open-rate, subscriber-count-obsessed monster. It is because of you that I get a paycheck -- this column wouldn't exist if you didn't read it, and I thank you for that.
So, why leave? I've been told that I have the best job EVER. "How can you leave a party column!?" is usually the incredulous response I get. It's just time. I've always felt that when I approach something begrudgingly rather than with "go get it!" energy, it's time move on. I'm turning 34, it's been fun, but I have been feeling that itch to get back into the non-party writer life. I have always been a community manager before it was an official job title. In fact, when I was younger, I founded The Jaws Club for my stuffed animals, a weekly meeting of the furry few to discuss all things murderous shark. I even wrote a newsletter for them. I wouldn't make up something this embarrassing, people, I really did it. I have always loved getting people (or stuffed animals, I suppose) to circle their wagons around something, be it an Internet technology prototype from my IBM days, OMMA events, photography, anything.
Which is why I happily accepted a position as community manager at enter: new media, a social media agency that also happens to have offices in my 'hood (I could jump there from my roof). I am tazer-level excited to join their team and work my butt off. I love change; it's an incredible opportunity to learn more, to challenge myself, and to remain part of this industry -- just more from the inside, not the rim.
The idea of going home at night rather than out to events still doesn't feel real, and I feel like a 14-year-old boy after a growth spurt: gangly and awkward. I mean, what do normal people do at night around here? I already have plans to revive my personal blog, focusing more on cooking, photography, and the East Village. I've always wanted to learn how to knit. And hey, about that online cooking show. Oh right, and the gym.
Thank you. It's been such a sweet ride, I have loved every minute of it, even the name calling, the hangovers, the pizza Buddha belly, the snagged tights, the long nights, and the arch cramps, all of it.
THE FUTURE: Have you ever read this column and said "feh, I could do so much better!"? Then do it! I would love to see Just An Online Minute continue, with a fresh-livered effervescent writer with a keen ear for good party gossip. It's not up to me; it's up to Editor in Chief Joe Mandese. Shoot him an email with your plans for a new and improved Just An Online Minute at firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to reading more!
Keep in touch! You can find me on LinkedIn, I'm a prolific tweeter (be warned, it's me. Sometimes you'll get deep thoughts, sometimes you'll get deep-dish pizza), and I can be reached at email@example.com for event photography work.