Okay, I’ll be honest here. I don’t know much at all about Cabletime and their MediaStar product. Seriously. Like, I’ve heard of it in passing. It could be the best thing on the planet for that application, or it could be the absolute worst. But what I do know is that the folks at Cabletime are good people.
So, I caught the remake of Arthur on a cable movie channel the other day. I’m absolutely NOT a fan of Russell Brand and was quite upset to hear that they were remaking the movie originally. While it was never high art or anything, the original Arthur is a bit of a classic and good for some laughs, mainly at the manic performance of Dudley Moore as the namesake loveable drunk – a performance that has set the standard for a generation of actors “acting drunk.”
Still, I adore Helen Mirren (Can I *be* her when I grow up?) and figured it was worth a watch on a boring afternoon. I’m so glad I watched it, if for no other reason, for the following scene:
Yesterday, I got a very vivid illustration of just how powerful Social Media can be.
I grew up in a very small town in Western PA. Very small. Like, 200 houses maximum, small. The town was settled in the early 1800s by about 25 families, who lingered and intermarried until today when pretty much everyone is related to everyone else somehow… and folks are still known as “that new family” if they’ve only lived in town since the 1970s or so.
Now, this li’l speck on the map doesn’t have its own government – it is, in fact, an unincorporated area that straddles two townships – but it does have a church and a fire department. The fire department is an all-volunteer service, founded by the town fathers (including my grandfather) in 1942. And, like many volunteer fire departments in Western PA, Paintertown Volunteer Fire Department holds an annual Fish Fry supper every Friday during Lent. This town social event serves as a fundraiser for the upkeep of the fire trucks. The volunteer fire fighters, the junior fire fighters and the members of the Ladies’ Auxiliary all work together to cook and serve a variety of delicious dinner options, and everyone who buys a meal also gets a complimentary dessert – homemade cake or pie made and donated by the town mothers (including my mother). It’s one of those great small town traditions that makes us all long for Grover’s Corners, Bedford Falls and Mayberry.
So what on earth does this have to do with Social Media?
I recently started a new job, after more than a year of freelance jobs and short-term contracts in and out of the AV industry. I’ve now “tasted” a variety of companies in different segments of our industry and now that I’ve returned to my roots as a systems integrator, I’m discovering that I’ve suffered from Corporate Stockholm Syndrome.
If you Google “corporate Stockholm Syndrome,” many bloggers and authors have tried to redefine the psychological phenomenon of hostages identifying with their captors for the corporate and business world. One of the best attempts comes from a programming company, C2, which describes the term as “the phenomenon wherein employees of a business start to identify with, and are exceedingly loyal to, an employer who is manifestly hostile to their own self-interest.” For my purposes, however, this definition can be expanded.
I will not bore you with endless lists and recaps of 2011, nor will I take this time to play perfect prognosticator and attempt to predict the possibilities post-midnight in 2012. (Nice alliteration, eh? ^_^)
This Friday past, the Women in AV (WAVE) held their first ‘international’
tweet-up, with live events held simultaneously in 10 cities around the US and via Twitter, worldwide. For a first-effort, I’d say this event was a rousing success. Thanks to the BlogSquad’s own Jennifer Willard for working so hard to put this event together!
In Washington, DC, I ended up with the task of organizing a venue for the party. Since there was no way to really know who and how many would show up for this inaugural event, I decided to throw the local party at a joint where I’d enjoy hanging out. Thus, Fado Irish Pub in DC’s Chinatown became our tweet-up home. Fantastic, authentic Irish food and lots of great beer and cider on tap, plus open WiFi. Not a bad place to spend an evening for a tweet-up!
I’ve gotten a lot of fantastic feedback from my last blog, Preach It – including having the blog featured on last week’s AVWeek podcast by AVNation. And every word is honest truth… As an AV pro, you have to be passionate about your field and about the technology and about the work you do. However, there can be a downside to this passion for the industry. It can become an obsession, an addiction that impacts your life. Hi everyone. My name is Dawn. And I’m an AV Professional.
The AV industry has existed a very long time now. Our trade association, Infocomm, itself celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2009. Yet, despite this long history, and despite the fact that products from our industry are integral to daily life around the world (mics, speakers, TVs, computer monitors, etc), we are still widely unknown and overlooked by many. It took until the release of MasterFormat2004 before we got a place of our own for AV specs in construction documents. There are still no AV Design Engineer or AV Installer degree programs in the United States, possibly the world, and only a few related degree programs out there that are similar – acoustical engineer, communications, broadcast degrees, etc. And, the public at large has no clue what we do, for the most part. Heck, I’m AVDawn for pity’s sake, yet my own mother thinks I “sell TVs or something like that.” (Bless her heart!)
The East Coast Earthquake and Social Media’s Omnipresence
So, I’m sitting here in my living room this afternoon, working on an upcoming rAVe article on Safety Standards when suddenly the entire house starts shaking. The windows rattle, as do the plates in the china cupboard and the frames and decorations on the walls. Having experienced a 3.6 magnitude earthquake here in Maryland last summer, I recognized the rumbling and rattling, so I put down the laptop, grabbed my phone and headed to the nearest doorway. I was joined moments later by one freaked-out West Highland White Terrier who’d been digging around the backyard when the backyard apparently took umbrage!
The Economy, US Credit Downgrade and Little Fish
I was working on a new Little Fish Tales (on dealing with manufacturers as a Little Fish… stay tuned!) when news broke on Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the US Credit Rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time ever. As the economy has been on everyone’s mind for the past, oh, 3 or 4 years anyways, I felt it important to postpone the other topic and address this one.
So, how has the economy been treating us Little Fish? Anecdotally, we’re taking a beating. Corporate installs have slowed to a trickle over the past two years and competition for the government and education projects has skyrocketed. Big Fish who never bothered with some of the smaller projects that kept Little Fish fed are suddenly circling them with a hungry gleam in their eyes, while new players join the battle from other ponds – residential AV, security, telecom, IT. One #AVTweep who participated in the February 2011 #AVChat on ‘The Economy’ said, “(We) started doing smaller jobs we normally wouldn’t have messed with.” It is becoming harder and harder for the Little Fish integrator to get a nibble.