Mediaphyter – A Communications Cocktail

From the heart, about the heart: Living with afib

WHITEHeartWoman_000I remember drinking five Diet Cokes that day, which was excessive caffeination even for me. I couldn’t sleep and it was 3 a.m. I watched re-runs of “Roseanne” on Nick-at-Nite in an effort to bore myself to sleep. Yet the longer I stayed awake, the more energized I felt. It was an insane adrenaline rush… and then the chest pains started. They weren’t scary as I thought they would be. More of a dull yet incredibly uncomfortable pain, kind of like a hamster on a rusty wheel in my chest. I decided to wake up my roommate and have her take me to the emergency room anyway.

That was my first bout of atrial fibrillation (afib), or as my friends first responded, “atrial what?” It was almost six years ago and that five days I spent in the cardiac ward was terrifying. I felt awful, like I had taken methamphetamines and gotten hit by a truck at the same time. The cardiologist kept saying, “She is so young! But she is so young!” and the heart monitor alarm kept going off and my closest family was hundreds of miles away. I thought I was going to die. I was so certain that I was going to die that I didn’t even call my mother. I didn’t know what to say.

Obviously, I was fine. Thankfully the amazing doctors determined that my afib was likely caused by my thyroid levels being off, at least that time, and immediately began to regulate it. Future episodes (oh, countless awful episodes) have proven that there’s something else going on to bring on my afib bouts. I quit caffeine cold turkey after the first episode. Was it stress? Was it alcohol? Was I dehydrated? It was only two years ago that I found out that I got this from my father, after he passed away from complications of procedure that was to fix it.

Enough sob story. What is afib? According to

Atrial fibrillation is a misfiring of the electrical signals of the heart that is characterized by heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and typically a fast heart rate. Afib comes on with little or no warning, and for no apparent reason, and can feel like having a flopping fish in the chest as the heart races and jumps uncontrollably.

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than five million Americans now suffer from atrial fibrillation, and by 2050 at least 16 million Americans will have afib as it overtakes aging Baby Boomers.

Once considered benign, this cardiac arrhythmia can double the risk of death and increase the risk of stroke five-fold. Afib is known to cause at least 15–20 percent of all strokes, and up to one-third of strokes of indeterminate origin are thought to be caused by atrial fibrillation. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in America and the number one cause of permanent disability.

I have what is known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, which essentially means that it’s like a ticking bomb. It can happen anytime, anywhere, no matter what I do. The bonus of that is I don’t have to live with afib all of the time. There are millions of people who suffered with afib and its side effects (awful headache, exhaustion, nausea), not to mention its terrible risks, on a daily basis. There are also many others who feel palpitations in their chests and discount it, never seeing a doctor or cardiologist, not realizing the risks that are associated with this frustrating disease.

The emotional side effects of living with paroxysmal afib are huge. Every time you pack a bag to travel, make a long-term plan, look forward to an event, or get ready for work you’re terrified that your plans are going to be destroyed due to an unexpected case of afib. You feel very isolated and scared because no one understands the disease. After dealing with a bout and (thankfully) getting better each time, your friends become desensitized. They don’t worry when you have chest pains anymore; it’s tantamount to a cold. Only on your end, every time is just as scary. Every time you worry that’s the time you’re going to have a clot or a stroke.

I am living proof that afib is not a death sentence by any means. I live a fairly normal life for a 35-year-old woman. I hang out with my friends, I travel, I exercise and I even have cocktails. I have to take a host of preventative medications, of course, and also have to do other things that are critical — take magnesium, stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and exhaustion. None of it is certain to help me avoid afib but it does help. And I hate this disease so much I will do almost anything to help avoid episodes.

The reason I am writing this emotional diatribe now is because September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. To those people who have had palpitations or chest pain and sluffed it off as nothing, or just waited for it to go away, I urge you to consider calling your doctor next time. It may not be afib, but why take the risk? One of the goals of Afib Awareness Month is to help with early detection so afib-related strokes can be diminished. My hope is that if you didn’t know about afib before, now you do. And if you know someone with afib, please never get desensitized to the disease, because your friend who has it never can be.

Several articles about afib can be found at The organization can also be found on Twitter.

Quick’n’Dirty Podcast: FriendFeed, Facebook and Foursquare, oh my!

qnd_logoThat’s right, I’m changing up the headline. Instead of  “Episode XX Recap” I’m going for something a little more creative. Don’t try and stop me. I’m out of control. However, I will say here that this is the official Quick’n’Dirty Podcast recap of our lovely episode 12.

During our brief hiatus last week my partner in crime, Aaron Strout, posted the “Best of Quick’n’Dirty,” which highlighted all of the fun we’ve had over our first eleven episodes (Listen: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10 11). We came back with a bang during episode 12 (if I do say so myself) with a very special guest – Paul Buchheit, co-founder of FriendFeed and innovator extraordinare. Paul talked about the transition from FriendFeed to Facebook, all of the innovation left for Facebook to do, and about how if he had to announce the acquisition over again, he’d do it in a way that wouldn’t scare FriendFeed loyalists. If you want more, you’ll have to listen to the interview.

Other fun stuff:

  • Social Network: We talked about Foursquare. Yes, again. Why? Because when we discussed it some weeks ago I was being snotty about it, saying that I didn’t see the value. I was capital-W wrong about that one. Now I am an addicted user of beloved Foursquare. I’m a superuser! I’m a mayor! I want more points! I even go out just so I can check in somewhere new.
  • Featured Twitterer: And this week we highlighted my former co-worker and current performance management thought leader Nenshad Bardoliwalla (@nenshad). He knows how enterprise technology and enterprise 2.0 operates better than most people I know. Definitely worth a follow.
  • Point / Counterpoint: So, our duel this week was about iPhone versus BlackBerry. Aaron is an iPhone user and I’m a #blackberryloyalist, as I say on Twitter. We talked about reliability, apps, the touchscreen keyboard and AT&T. I also made some pretty snarky comments, but what else is new?

Tune in next week when we’ll, well, it’ll be a surprise. Remember you can always listen to the replays or find us on iTunes by searching for “QuicknDirty.”

By the way, If you want to read

recaps of all eleven, they are here… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10 11

SXSW Interactive: Security, sports and snark
Aug 17 09, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , ,

South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) opened its panel picker today and yours truly is included in three panel proposals. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of all of them, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say the security one is closest to my heart. While I don’t like to beg for support, I’m going to do so now. However, I don’t want anyone to blindly vote for my panels. Please only do so if you truly believe the content is valuable. Here’s a snippet:

1. Inherent Dangers of Real-Time Social Networking
There’s plenty of chatter about social media and security issues, from social engineering to the naïveté of users. This panel of experts will explore how cyber criminals are taking advantage of socnet flaws and lack of user awareness, and what both individuals and companies can do to help protect themselves.

John Adams, Twitter operations and security incident response team
Damon Cortesi, Security consultant with Sevricon, social app developer
Mike Murray, chief information security officer with Foreground Security

2. Hitting Bombs: Better Social Business Through Sports Metaphors
Teamwork. Preparation. Execution. Sports abounds with lessons for today’s socially enabled business. This panel’s Murderer’s Row of sports fans/social media pros will make you laugh, make you think, and give you fresh perspective on how sports metaphors can elevate social media practice for you and your company.

Aaron Strout, Powered Inc.
Kyle Flaherty, Breaking Point Systems
Tim Walker, Hoover’s Business

3. How (Not) to Get Banned on Social Networks!
Many people use social networks for advertising, marketing, and personal promotion– some for good, and many for evil. This panel will consist of members from various abuse and security teams on many popular social networks. We’ll take a look at how to use these networks to your advantage, without raising the ire of support and abuse teams, gaming the system, or just being evil. We’ll give you an insider’s view of what it’s like to deal with user issues on a day to day basis, and how you can avoid being pulled into the many traps we’ve laid by being a good net citizen. We’ll also discuss user privacy concerns in the age of social networking and advertising, when all is laid to bare.

John Adams, Twitter operations and security incident response team
Others TBD

There you have it. Three panel options, all solid content. All you need to vote is a quick login to the site and a few little clicks. Any support is appreciated.

Quick’n’Dirty Podcast: Episode 11 Recap + Hiatus

qnd_logoIt’s that time again! Quick’n’Dirty Podcast recap time! Are you as excited as I am? Well, even if you’re not, I’m still going to give you the down and dirty on last week’s Quick’n’Dirty.

First, however, an announcement: We’re taking a one-week break. We’re tired. We’ve been talking for 11 episodes! That’s a lot of talking for even the most loquacious of podcasters. OK, the real reason is that both Aaron and I have some travel plans that will make doing next week’s show challenging. Rather than do a poor job for our growing bevy of great listeners, we’ll save up our mojo for a week.

We will return on Aug. 27 with an amazing show (if we do say so ourselves). Our guest? None other than FriendFeed co-founder (and now Facebook‘er) Paul Buchheit. Be sure to listen in and join us in the chat so you can ask Paul questions about, well, whatever you want to ask him about.

OK, now let’s talk about last week’s great show. As our special guest, the most impressive Bert DuMars, vice president e-business and interactive marketing for Newell Rubbermaid. I first met Bert last year when I interviewed him for my Fortune 500 series on how the company is using social media. He joined us on the podcast to give us a bit of update and also share with us some amazing stories about Sharpie Uncapped, Graco Baby Blog, Sharpie Blog and the Rubbermaid “Adventures in Organization” Blog. Listen to the recap to hear Bert talk about the challenges and wins each of these brands are experiencing, as well as a case study on letting your existing fans determine your social media strategy.

We also discussed:

  • Social Network: Hootsuite. OK, so it’s not a social network it’s a Twitter tool. But it’s my current favorite Twitter tool for managing multiple Twitter accounts (including the Quick’n’Dirty feed). Listen and learn why.
  • Featured Twitterer: We had two this week. We usually highlight an executive or someone who is running a feed for a company, but this time we went with a couple (literally) of Twitterers who are engaging and interesting and thought-provoking — John Pruitt and Terre Pruitt. Two of my personal favorites.
  • Point / Counterpoint: Aaron and I briefly discussed the Facebook acquisition of FriendFeed and what that might mean for the socialsphere in general. It was a pretty brief discussion as we were in danger of going over time (Bert was just so interesting!) so you’ll have to tune in to learn more.

Remember, we’re off next week but we’ll be back on Aug. 27 with Paul Buchheit. And also, don’t forget that you can find us on iTunes and subscribe by searching for “QuicknDirty.” As always, thanks for listening. Or reading. Or both!

Girls in Tech: Journalism 2.0

This should be a really great time. Looking forward to the panel.

GIT_02_DWS_Journalism2_Invite (2)

Quick’n’Dirty Podcast: Episode 8 Recap

qnd_logoLast week’s Quick’n’Dirty podcast was a blast, even if we were missing our most important ingredient — my c0host! Aaron Strout was off vacationing with his family so I was on my own, well not really.

I had a guest co-host in Kyle Flaherty, who I always claim is my mentor, and we had a fabulous time. For those of you who don’t know Kyle he is an incredibly sharp blogger and also manages marketing for Breaking Point Systems.

Our special guest this week was Rick Calvert of Blog World and New Media Expo. We talked about all of the exciting stuff coming up in the fall, and Rick thinks this particular conference is for the geekiest of the social media set. “Other conferences include social media, but this conference is all about social media,” he said. Yes. That’s a geek gathering, for sure.

Take a listen to the replay (or search for QuicknDirty on iTunes) for more from the interview with Rick.

In other news:

  • Social Network: Kyle and I talked about the coolness that is Shelfari, a book-sharing social network site. Every user has a (you guessed it) shelf on which you “store” books you’ve read, books you want to read, and books you’re currently reading. You can write reviews, share with friends, connect with like-minded readers, and even create a wish list. Downside? There’s seemingly no easy way to buy books off of hte wish list, should you want to do so. Overall, a cool social network.
  • Featured Twitterer: Um, so this guy Jerry Remy aka RemDawg. Apparently lots of Red Sox and baseball fans know who he is. And thankfully, Kyle knew who he was, being a Red Sox fan and all. He seems to be an icon among Red Sox Nation and has extended his presence to Twitter — much to the joy of his fans. If you’re a fan of Boston, you should follow RemDawg on Twitter. (Disclaimer: I watch hockey and only hockey. For enthusiasm, listen to Kyle go on and on during the replay).
  • Point / Counterpoint: Last week I wrote a feature that explored the psychological impact of social media fame on the brand-holders and their co-workers and loved ones. I asked the question, can a visible personal brand ruin your life? Kyle and I discussed the challenges of managing a public presence with protecting and uplifting workplace and home place relationships, and share some personal examples of our own.

Again, you can hear it all on the replay or you can search QuicknDirty on iTunes and subscribe to the podcast!

This week: Our very special guest will be Michael Feferman, digital director of C3 and we’ll also talk about the merits (and woes) of sponsored blogging and tweeting during our point / counterpoint. Join us at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 30 at the Blog Talk Radio site!

I also want to throw out yet another thank you to Kenneth Lim who won our logo creation contest back at the launch of the show. We still love it and we still appreciate your hard work. Thanks Kenneth!

Quick’n’Dirty Podcast: Episode 7 Recap

qnd_logoIt was a heck of a show. Aaron had been up since 3:30 a.m. to catch a flight with his family to the east coast and I’d just had a mental breakdown over a granola bar. However, the shining spot in our afternoon was the Quick’n’Dirty show, and what made it super shiny today was our guest — Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora.

Aaron and I are both big fans of Pandora. I personally have gotten very emotionally involved with Pandora’s grassroots battle against unfair, significantly heightened royalty fees that could’ve crippled the company’s business some months ago. Westergren talked to us about the latest win in Pandora’s fight, the history and mechanics of the Music Genome Project, how Pandora is a service for the artists (they want to create a “musicians’ middle class”), plans and ideas, and how much they love their listeners. Oh, and Westergren had some words of advice for would-be entrepreneurs, too.

In other news:

  • Social Network: We talked about the coolness of 12 Seconds, a micro-video site for the folks who have something to say… in 12 seconds or less. It’s a pretty cool idea and I’ve absolutely loved watching my friends’ 12 seconds videos. But as I told Aaron, I have a face for radio, so I’ve yet to do them myself. Check it out.
  • Featured Twitterer: Dr. Ogan Gurel is walking from Chicago to Washington D.C. to “draw attention to the very real stories of hardship and inequity that persist in our health care system.” According to his official blog, Dr. Gurel is sharing his stories along the way via multiple social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Loopt, etc.) and is currently in Pennsylvania.
  • Point / Counterpoint: Aaron and I have been Twitter buddies for a long time (having finally met in person back in April) but our friendship really soared after he wrote a blog post for me on “branded communities.” There was some legal hassle over which Aaron and I bonded (and, well, we were also totally right). We thought we’d dredge up the topic this week since it’s a continually relevant one. Should you build or join a community? I uttered my usual mantra: “Depends on what you want, etc.” Aaron, who is incredibly passionate about the topic, talked about how it shouldn’t be a choice — a company should build and join. Aaron even issued a challenge — contact him either through his blog or through Twitter and he will show you how ANY company can benefit from both building and joining communities.

You can listen to the recap here or find us on iTunes by searching for “QuicknDirty.”

Next Week! We’ll have a guest host as Aaron will be on vacation, and it’s the super fabulous, wonderfully awesome Kyle Flaherty (who just happens to be my mentor). We’ll talk about all kinds of fun stuff and our special interview will be with Rick Calvert, CEO of Blog World and New Media Expo!

Join us!


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