All of You Put the “Social” in “Social Media”

I have been mulling over this post for some time, but yesterday, crystallized it finally in my mind.  I think there are many who believe that if you are on Twitter, Facebook or [insert social media tool here] that somehow, you live in your Mom’s basement with the curtains drawn and screech like a ferret when someone introduces light into the room. Not true. I am lucky to have integrated social media into my life.  In so many ways.

So I have compiled a list below of how social media, in one form or another, has impacted my life.  Sorry for the long, post, but if you get tired of reading it, you can always click here to read about SEC Interim Temporary Final Rules.

You’re back?  Good. Here’s my list:

Friends Whom I Have Not Yet Met

Ike Pigott really got me thinking a couple of weeks ago when he CALLED me.  How about that?  As usual, Ike is smart and funny, but he has this great idea.  How about, once in a while, we take the online world over to Ma Bell and call each other?  Ike, as usual, you are dead on, so you highlight this list.

Matthew, who, despite being a Yankee fan, you are an ok guy – and responded to a then desperate blog post from me about recurring pneumonia with sound advice about taking some herbal medication.  And in that year or so, I may have had one cold.  What a difference.

Thanks Jonathan, for the wonderful comment you made on my blog last year about my children. Thanks. Julia, you noticed my posts and offered immediately to donate to my little girl’s campaign to raise money for the children of Haiti.  We share a lot in common on parenting, and I can’t wait to meet you one of these years. Tim, we’ve done a Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable together and tweeted, but your posts and tweets and both funny and insightful.  I love reading your stuff. Neville, I feel like I already know you and am certain that in 2010, we’ll finally get to meet in person.  And I am grateful for the opportunity to be whom David Wescott calls “FIR Boy.”  And Shel, in my mind, you literally wrote the book on online public relations and I am so grateful to be part of the FIR community.

Kami, we too have done a Media Bullseye Radio Roundtable together, I feel like I know you and am 100% sure that you are going to kick ass in your new venture with Geoff.

And speaking of Geoff, I can’t leave out our recent Twitter conversation about the fun night you, me, Larissa, Mark and Shel had, celebrating his birthday.  And Mark – it was so awesome catching up between speeches at the PRSA event yesterday.

Friends I Have Met Because of Social Media

Jason, you top this list.  Not only are you smart as hell, you are funny as hell and I am lucky to call you a friend.  So I’ll start with a “BlogWorldExpo 2009 list” and mention how much fun I had connecting with Shauna, Tac, Eric, Shannon, Ed, Jen and many, many others last October.  I think that it was a contact high just meeting each other. I was in the speaker ready room with Guy Kawasaki, for Christ’s sake.  And as I was doing the Garth and Wayne “I’m Not Worthy,” Brian Solis took a few moments to chat – and was funny and down to earth. And Dave – I’ll be getting that speaker proposal in soon.  2009 was one hell of a good time.

Kate, you too are special, not only for the “Keep Austin Weird” person you are, but also for the kindness you displayed when you responded to my daughter’s Haiti drive -and emailed her.

And special shout-out to Doug, who is not only funny and smart, but did the Pan Mass Bike Challenge to raise money for the Dana Farber Institute – and mailed me (old school) a handwritten thank you for my little donation.

Ericmeeting you last week was a blast.  And I am beyond psyched to be working on stuff in the future.

You are a real friend. Shonali, although we are geographically close, we don’t get together enough.  That needs to change in 2010 as well.  You are smart, funny and one hell of a networker.

Academic Mentions

Robert, you have set the academic social media standard for others to follow.  But what is so clear is that you care enough about your students to push them to have REAL LIFE experience with it.  To dare to try while they learn.  PROpenMic is brilliant and I constantly see you pushing for job opportunities for your students.  As an instructor myself, I can tell you that that particular part of teaching is not in your job description;  it’s in your character. Barbara, I am dying to meet you via Skype video or however I can learn more about what you teach.  And (Robert, too) count me in for a guest appearance at computer screen near you.

Really Special Academic Mentions

This is for my Georgetown peeps.  Not only was teaching seriously one of the greatest joys in my life, the fact that so many of you have kept in touch me with me, asking advice (educational of life advice) is just plain flattering – and humbling.  And as we have transitioned from professor/student to friends, I am so grateful to know you, Lill, Megan, Anne, Kristen, Shannon, Jessica, Claudia, Mike, Sunaina, Georgi, Raquel, Laura, Sherice, Jolie, Joe, Shilpika, Alma, Tarun, Anca, Aimee, Becky, Catherine, and Josie (please move back – mid term elections are soon – heh).  A couple of you have moved out of the country since you finished, but still keep in touch,  It means a lot.  And what was even more meaningful was watching several of you walk across that stage and get your diplomas.  I was like a proud pappa.  And I know that I suck because I know that I have left someone out completely by mistake, but that’s why they have the “edit” button on blog posts.  And yes, I could have died a happy man after that picture.

People From the Past

Most of this comes from former employers (I have a lot of them).  I firmly believe that if you are real friends, the friendship transcends the term of employment.  So David, I have watched you go from an agency newbie to someone who has completely mastered the art of social media – and regularly kicks my ass in the stuff you write.  Hillary, I will never forget that you were there for me when my mom was dying. Never.  Same for you, Maura, Jess and LayleSpencer, it’s great that I still get to see you from time to time.   I love reading about your life, too, OonaJaselle – I miss our completely off-colour (with a nod to the British spelling) jokes and still remember our pub night out in London (BC for you;  Before Children).   All of you remind me of the times when APCO was a FAMILY – not a soulless corporation.

Cheryl, you and I are polar opposites in just about everything in life, but still good friends. And that is so awesome.  Monica, I so love that we can still keep in touch – and now that you have climbed the corporate ladder of success, you have not forgotten this little person.  And since it’s just the two of us reading this, how about getting me a corporate gig in Miami?  Winter sucks.

And Tom – we pretty much started in the whole “Internet thing” together in the late 90’s.  Fun times, those.  And yes, it was randomly generated.

What Got Me Hooked

Chip, the friendship that we developed over the years and has grown was the spark that helped ignite my passion for social media.  And Jen, it’s been zillion years since I last saw you, but I have loved working with you on articles or podcasts and you always have smart and funny things to say either on my blog or my Facebook page.  And you are real friend – a Prince says “ruff” to Ralph.  Sarah, we both suck for never meeting face-to-face now that we live 10 miles apart.  I would really like to correct that in 2010 as well.

And thank you to Lourdes and Laurie for finding me after all those years.

This post is too long, but, for a long time, I have been thinking that when I tweet something like “I’m sick,” or “at the vet,” or “today blows,” I will, at some point hear from one of my social media/online/offline friends.  And I have never really said “thank you,” because when I get that little Facebook message back, or that tweet saying “What’s going on?” it makes all of the difference in the world.

Thanks, social media.


P.S. – As a demonstration of my thankfulness and devotion, I got carpal tunnel syndrome inserting all of these links.

P.P.S. – For those of you who know my, um “irascible” personality, NO this post does not mean that I am dying and this is my epitaph.

P.P.P.S. – There are so many outbound links in this post that I fear that I will disappear from Google all together, bleeding links.  Linkey love, anyone?



  1. Mark-
    Dude! This is so nice! Here I am way the hell on the other side of the world in my hotel room in Doha, Qatar and I read this post. Feeling a little lonely here, so it’s nice to hear kind words from a pal.

    Didn’t remember you took my advice a year ago, but glad to hear you’re still reaping the benefits.

    Thanks for taking the time to include me in this post (and for the 10,000 links you put in). BTW, I like the new look of the blog. I read it via RSS, so I almost never visit the actual blog. Looks great, though.

    Oh, and in case you forgot, we’re still world champs.

  2. Mark Story Says: February 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Matthew, buddy, I love you, man. But the Yankees suck.

  3. Aw, thanks so much. What a great idea for a post–I’m quite sure we all have people to thank.

    What a nice way to end a Monday!


  4. Jen,

    It’s karma. You always make me smile.


  5. Mark,

    What a great post to read as I set in the Tampa Airport Cell Phone Waiting Lot (with free WiFi)! I love this post. Who knew a curmudgeon could make so many connections. Let’s have a Skype call next week. I am confident my Social Media for PR students will be interested in your perspective.


    (PS – Did you know that Robert & I went to college & grad school together?)

  6. Great post, Mark. You got carpel tunnel syndrome inserting the links, I got cross-eyed trying to read them 🙂

    Glad that you’re a firm part of FIR, we’re thrilled to have you. You really add a new essentiality to the show. Hope we do get to jmeet this year. If you’rte going to be at NewCommForum 2010 in April, we will. Or IABC conference in June. Opportunities!

  7. Aimee Saldivar Says: February 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for the shout out! I appreciate it and it has been awesome knowing you are on my team. BUT most importantly I want to thank you for inspiring me before I even met you in class. You were the reason I joined the program. I went to the info session to find out more details for my company’s tuition reimbursement program and ended up quitting my job to go back to school full-time to be inspired by teachers like you. I don’t think I would have ever been able to deliver a group presentation about Viagra in any other class and get an A on it, if it hadn’t been for you. I am so glad that I met you! You, by far (along with another instructor), have been the best instructor in my program and I was very sad to hear you leave. Your blog definitely keeps me interested on what’s to come out of that interesting head of yours!! Thanks for the encouragement and confidence, always!

    P.S. Mark your calendar for May 22 so you can be a proud papa again at this year’s graduation commencement!!! En serio!!!

    P.S.S. When I read this I thought you were dying or something!

    Muchisimas gracias!!!!


  8. Barbara,

    Count me in. I am sitting unhappily in a hotel room in Denver enjoing the comments.


  9. Aimee,

    You are too kind. I really miss teaching, but not enough to go through all of the BS. But like I said when I left, if I was any good at all, it was because of people like you — you made me better. You made me work harder. Because you guys were so awesome.


  10. Mark – that was such a lovely surprise – thank you! Yes, you’re right – we don’t see each other nearly enough and that does need to change in 2010. I don’t know what sparked this post (please, PLEASE tell me I didn’t miss some really important date and thereby nullify your kind words), but it’s a light in a day that was beginning to be filled with some curmudgeonly curmudgeons. So double thanks!

  11. This is very touching.

    I should do what I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Give you a call to have lunch. Looking forward to it.

  12. Wow, Mark. Thank you. Here I am coming in from class/lab and find your very kind post. Many thanks.

    Yes, let’s do the video chat with the students. They will love the chance to speak with the Director of Social Media for the SEC. They’ll flip! :o) I’ll write to you this week.

    Oh, and yes … Barbara and I did go to college together. :o) I learn from you, Barbara and all the other very generous educators willing to share out here in the community. So, thank you for all of your very important contributions, too! Take care.

  13. Mark Story Says: February 2, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Barbara and Robert,

    Thanks for your comments. I have been out of teaching for a while, but gave a seminar on Thursday to an advanced group of PR professionals. It made me think about how much I miss pushing students to be their best and watching the bloom like flowers.

    DM me; I am happy to do anything – and I have a Skype account and a Mac camera.

    All the best,


    PS. – I bet you both can tell some semi-embarrassing stories about each other, right?

  14. Mark, great post!

    There is a SMC-DC event in 3 weeks, on 2/24. Maybe I’ll convince you to come!

  15. Mwah! Thanks for the inclusion in your post. Funny how a little avatar can connect two people so far apart? (And, i love that we recreated it @ BWE)

    Goes without saying that these great connections wouldn’t be possible without the other half: YOU!

  16. This is timely (which shouldn’t overshadow the sweetness of it all). I’m in the middle of a post that pays a sort of homage to the folks who keep track of me while keep the me on track (check in on it tomorrow). But, like most things, you beat me to the punch. Thanks for the shout out. xoxo

  17. Thank you so much for including me in your post, Mark! You set the bar (a high one) for my entire graduate school experience, and opened up the world of social media for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better professor — and now friend.

  18. Thanks for including me here, Mark. Besides reminding me of what I like so much about social media (the people!), you’ve given me a lot of new people to go meet. Cheers!

  19. Sunaina Bhatnagar Says: February 3, 2010 at 8:34 am


    This post made my day! Brought back memories of this time, last year when you were inspiring our class and making us laugh all at the same time! Thank you so much for it all, and for including me in your wonderful post.Hope all is going well for you. Let’s connect soon in the next couple of weeks. Take care,

  20. Mark Story Says: February 4, 2010 at 5:52 am


    Thanks for your sweet note. When people tell me that I have made a difference in their lives, it makes me good, because I believe that we were put on this earth to do just that.

    And I have said it before and will say it again – YOU and others made me what I am. You pushed me to excel.

    And I think that another G-Town reunion is in the works..


  21. Mark Story Says: February 4, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Tim and Shonali,

    Sorry I am commenting late, but your comments got caught up in my approval folder.

    Tim, thanks for the kind words. And Shonali, the only thing that you have done to make your way into my post is to be a good friend.


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