Thursday, June 28, 2012

Silicone Bitch: Social Media Day Miami 2012


An extraordinary thing has happened in Miami in these past three weeks.  A group of about a dozen folks -- bloggers, community volunteers and social media professionals as well as enthusiasts, have pulled together to create a kick-ass Social Media Day for Saturday, June 30 at Zadok Gallery in Wynwood from 2-7 PM, followed by cocktails at Wood Tavern nearby.

We come from all walks of life -- attorneys, realtors, writers, PR professionals, non-profit managers and more who are very involved in the local social media scene.


In 2010, Mashable -- the world's leading electronic publication and information clearinghouse on social media -- set June 30 as the day to celebrate the phenomenon worldwide. This year to date, there are over 1,000 cities across the globe with planned events.

But this isn't the first time Mashable and Miami have crossed paths on the social media radar. In 2008, the Magic City was one of the stops on the SummerMash Tour, which featured a swanky party at Opium Garden with Pete Cashmore on the step-and-repeat, as well as a full-day Social Media Camp at the Wolfsonian Museum.



Much has changed since 2008. PR and marketing companies are now more involved in promoting social media as a business to attract clients. Some of the original luster is gone and companies who sell social media aren't always deeply connected to the pioneering Miami social media movement, as was evident in this year's Social Media Week -- which was fabulous, by the way, no doubt about that. But Silicone Bitch has often noticed a disconnect between the two.

The original social media movement -- before it was a marketing buzzword -- coalesced in 2006 with the founding of the Social Media Club South Florida chapter.  Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer attended the first meeting at a now defunct restaurant on NE 2nd Avenue near Midtown Miami.  Since then, the community has grown to over 2,500 members and is one of the most active clubs in the U.S. with Alex De Carvalho and others at the helm.

In the past, events were just, well social and what we call "old skool" -- soft tech and social media types meeting up for drinks and sharing wetware with no business agenda. And then Miami enjoyed visits from high-profile events such as Future of Web Apps, three years in a row -- 2007 to 2009. In addition, entrepreneurs, social media types and startup founders have gathered at countless RefreshMiami, BarCamp and Social Media Club South Florida meetups.


In 2010, BRPR led the Social Media Day effort with an event at the Pelican Hotel. Last year, Social Media Day was a grassroots effort and focused on happy hour, which unfortunately turned into controversy after Carlos Miller posted about the venues at Miami Beach 411. His story didn't paint a clear or very pretty picture of what actually goes on in Miami regarding social media for social good or social media just for fun's sake.  Thankfully, charitable efforts like Philanthrofest and festive events like SxSe tell a different story.

This year, the spirit of the original Social Media Club -- "if you get it, share it" -- continues to grow in Miami. All the communities, including PR and marketing companies, local businesses, charitable interests and the not-so-loosely organized social group Miami Rat Pack, have come together in a most refreshing and positive collaboration the likes of which Miami has never seen.  This is a banner year and a milestone for Miami's social media scene.

And it's not just a social cocktail hour: Social Media Day Miami 2012 is a half-day of 18 presentations and features a blogger's lounge sponsored by Overblog with support from Red Bull.

The community response has been out of this world, or out of the continent, literally. Europe-based Overblog, a revolutionary new platform for combining all of social media and blogging content in one site -- let's face it, bloggers, micro-blogging is just as important as your macro posts for reaching audiences -- chose Miami out of other U.S. cities to support Social Media Day.

And the list of other pledged sponsors and supporters? It's too long -- from Knight Foundation to Miami Parking Authority to Philanthrofest to The Stage Miami, The Miami Herald and more are happy to help the movement.  Silicone Bitch can't list them all. We'll have a final recap after June 30, since pledges for support are dropping from the sky daily like manna from heaven.

Overwhelming. Amazing. Brilliant. Dazzling.  These are the only words Silicone Bitch can use to describe the tireless energy and effort of so many involved in putting this together.  Meet the team.



So bloggers, I am calling YOU!  Get to know Overblog. And out of 18 presentations, five will be focused on issues that are of particular interest to bloggers:

Alex De Carvalho -- Those Were the Days: Old Skool Social Media

Jewel Figueras -- Building Your SM Brand the Old Fashioned Way

Linda Hamburger -- Look Big Even if You're Small

Michelle Villalobos -- Shameless Self Promotion

And finally, yours truly will present From Jurassic to Freshtastic: A History of Blogs in Miami. We'll start with proto-bloggers like Hidden City, mention the re-branding of Stuck on the Palmetto to South Florida Daily Blog, the return of Critical Miami, the success of internationally acclaimed Photography Is Not  a Crime, the rise of Miami's newest darling, Beached Miami -- the list goes on and on.  It'll be a who's who of the Miami blog scene: blogs that aren't corporate or mainstream media but solid self-publishing efforts by creative individuals who cover everything from food, fashion, gardening, politics, travel, parenting and more.

And for bloggers as well as all others, there are presentations on B2B, Facebook Ads, brand disasters, cyber-bullying, and much, much more! Full schedule here.  Free beer, rum by Demerara, VitaCoco water, Cuban coffee, Red Bull and cupcakes will be available.  A cocktail party will follow at modestly-priced but very groovy Wood Tavern just two blocks away from the Zadok gallery.

Kindly RSVP at Eventbrite or just show up.  More information at Miami Social Media.

It's important to note that Social Media Day is not proprietary; anyone can host an event. For additional happenings in South Florida, visit Mashable's Social Media Day.

If you're an early riser, start your Social Media Day Miami at Preemo's Tech Bar in South Miami, 9 AM to noon. Preemo, a Social Media Day Miami sponsor, will host a complimentary breakfast. Play smartphone trivia games while noshing on bagels.  Head over to Wynwood by 2 PM.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Silicone Bitch: An Open Letter to Plagiarists Worldwide

Photo by crazy_foolish4u via Flickr.

Good grief,  Silicone Bitch doesn't actually like to bitch. I like to see social media used for good in the world.

Yours truly really hesitates to dedicate a post to an issue that might ruffle a few feathers, but here's one not-so-little pet peeve to bitch about that simply can't be overlooked.

I recently witnessed one colleague egregiously "steal" another colleague's idea, which was presented shamelessly in flagrante at a public event with no attribution whatsoever.

Usurping someone else's intellectual property as your own undermines community integrity.  Same shit happens when vultures try to "steal" clients or charge less just to get a client, but that's another story.

We need to set a boundary and put a foot down.

Do I need to remind folks that plagiarism is not cool? Don't they teach that to kids in school these days?   And by school, I don't mean elementary level rug rats but folks with undergraduate and graduate degrees who now do business and call themselves professionals.

If you're going to show, quote, present or talk about anyone else's stuff, you'd better give credit where credit is due. It's one of the basic tenets of contemporary digital life and the reality of sharing.

Sharing is caring, right? But also, sharing without caring about the intellectual property rights of others in your field is completely unethical.

What separates us from clownish snake oil vendors is this little thing called attribution in a nice place called creative commons. Anyone who doesn't get this will lose credibility in a social media community. It's about being transparent. People will see through you, so make sure that you is authentic.

Competition is healthy but even classier is the tried and true concept of consideration for the hard work of others.

It's totally groovy and acceptable to be inspired by other people's ideas. Just make sure you don't pass them off as your own.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Silicone Bitch Summer Edition: Social Media Day Miami and Other Events


Silicone Bitch hasn't posted in a while here, but that's because we've been busy actually making a living at social media, plus fishing for tarpon on the gulf coast of Florida and taking naps in the doldrums of summer. But even though the humidity is sticky, Miami isn't sitting still.


Ah, June 30. This is the day that Mashable decided would be cool to celebrate all things social media worldwide. Little does Pete Cashmore know we're in the early throes of Hurricane Season and that most of us would rather sink our toes in the sand while sipping a frosty beverage, but no matter.

A group of Miami's top social media influencers have volunteered to put together with an afternoon of workshops and panels at Zadok Gallery in Wynwood followed by cocktails and networking. A Social Media Day breakfast at Preemo's Tech Bar in South Miami is in the works. Social Media Day will be a great opportunity for newbies or even the jaded to network and learn in a casual conference format.

Ditch the beach that day and head out to tweet your ass off at Miami's largest social media gathering.  Registration is FREE and strongly encouraged, please visit Eventbrite.  For additional, last-minute details, visit Social Media Day Miami on Facebook. Follow hashtag #smdaymia on Twitter, too.


Ignite Miami, our local version of Ignite talks around the world, challenged speakers to present great ideas in 5 minutes with 20 slides rotating every 15 seconds. On May 29th, yours truly regaled the audience of 300 plus at The Stage Miami with a talk on #toptenlies -- remember the little hashtag that could? Yeah, seriously, what's a little white lie in Miami when we have cannibals roaming the streets?

Other speakers discussed everything under the sun -- from crossing off milestones on your bucket list to turning a reef project gone bad into art to hyperlocal coverage of Little Havana.

Ignite talks are like TED on the fast lane.  And speaking of TED, TEDx Miami will be broadcasting talks from the mother ship event in Edinburgh at The Stage Miami on June 28.  Find more information at TEDx MIA.

View Ignite Miami videos on YouTube.


On May 25, yours truly moderated a panel on blogging at Inspiration University's day-long social media conference for women entrepreneurs, which took place at NOVA Southeastern University in Davie. Panelists included successful business women and creative bloggers Raw Candor, Mi Caminar and Coral Gables Story.  Inspiration University is a great resource for women in South Florida looking to learn, share and expand their networks through quality programming that's not some bozo pitching a business.  No bait and switch here -- expect real learning and informative, educational events.  Check out Inspiration University.


And speaking of stuff that's good for women: Dr. Elizabeth King, founder of The International Holistic Center in Fort Lauderdale, is putting together a day of speakers and panels at the Ritz Carlton on July 13.  The tag line for the conference, which claims to be more of a movement rather than a one-day affair, is "Suits, Stilletos and Lipstick: The Balancing Act." Yours truly will be speaking and moderating a panel on social media focused on the balance between online and "real" life.

Of particular interest to Sex and the Beach readers: Julia Yarborough, an Emmy Award winning broadcast and print journalist who created the road trip blog Highway to a Husband, will be speaking at the conference.  Dr. Sonjia, who opened the School of Sensual Satisfaction in Miami Beach (yes, it's a real school) and authored Sex in South Beach, will also be behind the podium.

To register, visit Women's International Holistic Conference. A portion of the silent auction proceeds benefits Big Mama's Team of Life, a local charity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Love Is Your Birthright

An impromptu interview from 2011 with New York Times best-selling author Laura Doyle and Gladys Diaz of Heart's Desire International.

It has been a while since I've written about sex and relationships or even celibacy, but the topic is fresh on my mind as Heart's Desire will be hosting a Women's Lifelong Romance Retreat in Fort Lauderdale, June 22 - 24, with Laura Doyle.

Laura Doyle's "surrendered wife" and "surrendered single" concepts appear controversial at first glance, but they're not archaic tenets about being submissive.  Being "surrendered" is about knowing how to communicate your desires properly, among other relationship skill sets.

The idea of learning how to communicate with men and learning to be more feminine isn't really that off the wall. And the principles of communication -- knowing what to say, when to say it and not becoming desperate in anticipation of a reply -- apply to all kinds of relationships, not just romantic attachments.

After reading Doyle's Surrendered Single, I examined my own communications skills more closely. And even though I'm not in a romantic relationship, I've found I've become more relaxed when it comes to handling communication challenges and have adapted more comfortably to the idea of openly and graciously receiving what is good for me.

Although, quite frankly, I still remain in a state of limbo, a kind of "suspended celibacy" (Doyle would probably scold me for saying that!), I must say I do feel prepared for the next right one -- the right and best possible one for me. It's just that right now, romance isn't a particular focus in my life, but as Doyle would say (and has said to me): "What are you waiting for? Love is your birthright!"

She's damn right, you know.

Heart's Desire International, a group of relationship coaches inspired by Doyle's principles, were a huge hit at my HeartCamp event last February.  I expect the "man panel" at the retreat to be equally as successful because it's also good to know what thoughts are lurking in their thick skulls.

But we ladies can be pretty stubborn, too.

Have you ever gotten a phone call late at night from a panic-stricken girlfriend? OMG why isn't he calling me? Why did he say that? Why is he acting that way? I recently fielded one of these calls and had an 'aha' moment even though it had nothing to do with me. Before you place the onus on the other, examine your own behavior. True, sometimes a guy is just a jerk.  But it does take two to tango, even when the dance is uncoordinated and clumsy.

I learned this beautiful lesson years ago, actually, when I literally danced tango. The best tango is the one that flows smoothly from one step to the next, with male and female energy gently pushing and pulling in a balanced yin and yang.  In dance, those steps take practice. It's no different with relationships.

Why train to be in a relationship when you're not in one? For the same reason you train to run a marathon. You can't expect to just do it without skill sets, without preparing your mind and body for what's to come. Growing up, our parents didn't always teach us the best relationship skills. They did the best they could with what they were taught in turn.  And in school, we focus on careers and book learning, but not what matters to the heart.

And more importantly: dating sucks. (Doyle will slap me on the wrist for that one!) Go armed with knowledge and the ability to have fun.

So single ladies, if you've ever splurged a few clams on shoes and hair, why not treat yourself to some spiritual pampering? If you wish to attend the retreat, sign up with the code MARIA and you'll get 50% off admission. The retreat includes not only seminars and lectures, but also a welcome cocktail party, a lunch aboard a yacht on the intracoastal, VIP party at Blue Martini and optional morning yoga, plus networking with like-minded women.

The retreat takes place at the beautiful Gallery One Doubletree Hilton, just off the intracoastal waterway. For more information visit Women's Lifelong Romance Retreat.


I am receiving absolutely no financial compensation for any ticket purchases made with this special Sex and the Beach discount code. It's a gift to my readers courtesy of the retreat organizers!  And you know I only give props to good stuff I believe in!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Shorts Shows Off Miami's Theatre Legs

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a Miami Rat Pack soirée at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. The Arsht invited a handful of social media influencers to enjoy an evening of theatre while sitting in "tweet seats" in the rear of the black box where we could tweet to our heart's content. Even better: cast members were tweeting from backstage, enjoying our own ramblings tagged #summershorts.

But I couldn't tweet much during the performances, as I was completely captivated by nine short plays for a total of one and a half hours.  It's challenging to laugh so much and tweet at the same time.

I particularly liked Bedfellows, a flight of fancy in which we witness the banter between John Adams and Benjamin Franklin had they ever had to share a room together while on the road.   Moscow reveals the bond between a traditional Jewish mother and her granola, new age daughter as they participate in an unusual ritual to celebrate the birth of the granddaughter.

Single ladies take heed:  I'll Be There is a humorous yet poignant story about a woman and her stalker. What if the nicest psycho could be your non-boyfriend from afar?

Some of the other plays also tackled sex and relationships issues -- even the subject of orgasms -- but all in a classy way.

Produced by Miami-based non-profit City Theatre, Summer Shorts celebrates its 17th anniversary this year, bringing fresh theatrical performances that pack a punch. It's summer entertainment at its best to beat the heat and humidity.  And no pun on Miami Heat intended -- actual refreshing cocktails are served at a cash bar in the vestibule, which you can bring into the theatre.

The video above features the cast of Green Dot Day, a short by Carey Crim and directed by Mark Swaner enjoying its world premiere this summer here in Miami. Tod Allen Durkin and Irene Adjan play a couple desperately trying to conceive. In ten minutes, the characters share a gamut of emotions from frustration to tenderness.

Summer Shorts is on stage until June 17. And unlike real summer shorts here in Miami, no one's ass is hanging out. Sex and the Beach approves!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Taste of the Gables Delights with Sensuous Fare

Taste of Gables westin colonnade risotto lobster chef
What every woman wants: a handsome man to serve her good food. Westin Colonnade chef Andres Muñoz plating up Mango Butter Lobster and Scallop Risotto in the VIP room.

Last Thursday, Taste of the Gables hosted several local bloggers in the opulent rotunda at the Westin Colonnade.

Guests at the one-night affair previewed bites from participating restaurants in the 5th annual Coral Gables Restaurant Week, June 4 - 17 (yes, it's actually two weeks, not one.) Over 25 establishments will offer prix fixe, three-course lunches and dinners during the fortnight -- a great chance to enjoy some fine meals without breaking the budget.

Taste of Gables westin colonnade
A social media savvy event: twitter hashtag #tasteofgables was projected live in the rotunda.

Taste of Gables Seasons 52 Desserts
Mini-desserts, low-calorie but packed with flavor, have long been approved by Sex and the Beach.  Find them at Seasons 52.

Hungry foodies had the opportunity to vote for their favorite samples in the two-hour festival. The winner, Ernie Fernandez of Caffe Vialetto, certainly deserved the popular vote for a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth homemade ravioli filled with pears and blanketed in a creamy gorgonzola sauce. One of these heavenly raviolis is a tease. Two would be foreplay.

Taste of Gables Ernie Fernandez Caffe Vialetto
If I were Oprah, I'd hire this man.  Chef Ernie Fernandez from Caffe Vialetto.

But equally wonderful (and my favorite) was the Chianti Braised Short Rib from Cibo Wine Bar, served by Chef Gianattasio himself over gorgonzola polenta with crisp onions. One bite and I was instantly transported to a log cabin somewhere in Tuscany with a very handsome and brawny man stoking the fire.  When food makes you fantasize, you know it's good.  This was sexy comfort food at its best.

Taste of Gables Cibo Wine Bar Braised Short Rib
All good food should fire up the imagination. Braised short rib from Cibo Wine Bar.

Restaurant Week starts tomorrow. Bring your appetite.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Hurricane Season Boyfriend 2012

Here we go again. Tropical storm Beryl hit before June 1st, the official start of Hurricane Season 2012.

Oh my! Can it be already one year? How time flies! Jeremy Wade of River Monsters did a great job as Hurricane Season Boyfriend 2011 but it's time to pick a new one today. It's June 1, the official start of hurricane season and with three named storms already, we're shaking in the knees.

We've had many nominations, including Old Spice Guy. But he's a little too laid back for this role. Sure, he's suave and smells good, but he probably wouldn't stand in line for three hours just to get you an ice cube that's going to melt on the way home.  He's a lady man. And only a true love would put up with such a stupid errand just so you can have a cold Skinny Girl Margarita.

Some of our Florida femmes got political.  A favorite nominee was Barack Obama:  "He can expedite your FEMA request like no other."  Sure POTUS would be great for dealing with bureaucracy in the aftermath, but we just get an icky feeling about all those secret service agents looming about, especially if they're not servicing us.


Ladies, you know that each hurricane season we must have steadfast partners for six months. These men, who are utterly dispensable during the tourist season, must be able to put up hurricane shutters in 50 mile per hour winds while fierce rain falls sideways, hard rain drops pelting their shirtless, sinewy chests.  They must also be able to handle wilderness in the aftermath of the storm and by wilderness, I mean your whining ass after two weeks without electricity and waxing appointments.  You must be able to trust this man with a machete, if you know what I mean. He aint just cutting a swath down fallen Banyan trees in your driveway.

The best Hurricane Season Boyfriend isn't afraid of nature nor the beast within -- you know that beast within you that complains about not having a hot shower and having to eat moldy peanut butter sandwiches instead of raw vegan salads from Whole Foods.

This year, we have decided to go local and pick not one but two gentleman who would fit really the bill. Why settle for one pair of balls when you can have two?  That's four cojones for the price of one!

So without further ado, drum roll please ...


Paul Bedard and Jimmy Riffle of Gator Boys.  Photo: Animal Planet/Bob Croslin.

What's not to love? Just look at them!  They are knee-deep in the swamp because they want to be, not because they have to.

And you know, after a month or so with a tarp protecting the roof, your house is going to look like this anyway. After the storm surge, expect a wayward snapper from Biscayne Bay to land on your car. Lizards, scorpions, a boat that was moored in a marina 20 miles away, lost hipsters and drug-crazed zombies might also show up on your mud-covered Ikea sofa.

Eventually, weeds will start growing from your lingerie drawer.  The simple engineering and well-ventilated design of a humble thatched-roof Seminole hut is going to make way more sense than a waterfront McMansion.

Or if you're an urbanite, you're going to curse the day you invested in a glass-and-steel Brickell condo on the 50th floor because of the "great view."  Start making friends with carrier pigeons now. If an Andrew category five hits downtown Miami, you're going to need a helicopter to to deliver pizzas from Fort Lauderdale because Miami will be out of power and you won't be able to charge your mobile phone.


But we digress! Why focus on the hardships of surviving a hurricane when we have luscious men to make it all better?

In addition to water and batteries, these biceps and forearms should be in every single woman's hurricane supply kit.  Photo: Animal Planet.

Take a look at Paul Bedard. Would you kick this tri-athlete out of what's left of your mattress when the roofed caved in over your bedroom? I bet not.  You see that groovy necklace he's wearing? That could double as a cuticle pusher, a hair accessory and a nifty utensil in case you have to gut a python if that's all daddy could bring home for dinner that night from the hunt.

Don't you love a man who can tame a beast from on top? Photo: Animal Planet.

And just feast your eyes on cutie pie Jimmy Riffle.  If he can cuddle a ferocious reptile without fear, imagine what he could do with you if you had PMS!

Also, these guys know Florida.  They've worked out of Weston and know that gators in your swimming pool are a hell of a lot safer than a mob of teenagers watching movies at a Kendall mall.  And while they may not be able to haggle the price of a fake Louis Vuitton bag in Hialeah, they'll probably know the difference between a real contractor and a price gouger from another state.

(By the way, the alligators they rescue do not become purses or belts.)

The pair are like Florida's very own Brawny men, but instead of pushing paper towels, it's rolling papers.  OK, totally kidding. Actually, they seem to be clean, which is a big plus. But bet you a drop in  barometric pressure that it'd be fun to kick back and have a beer with these guys.

Congratulations to Paul Bedard and Jimmy Riffle of Gator Boys for becoming part of this most coveted Hall of Fame, which so far has included Harry Connick, Jr., Chef Robert Irvine, Father Alberto and Jeremy Wade, plus many other honorable nominees such as Anderson Cooper and Bryan Norcross.

To learn more about the team, visit Animal Planet's series, Gator Boys.  They're in the business of rescuing nuisance alligators in South Florida.