Monday, March 30, 2009

Il Mio Vino at Vinitaly April 2-6, 2009

My sponsor Il Mio Vino will be present at Vinitaly, one of the most influential wine events in Europe, April 2 - 6 in Verona.

Editors and experts from Il Mio Vino will be waiting for you at the Il Mio Castello S.P.A. booth, at the Centroservizi Castelvecchio - Stand Area 2.

Give them a call (+39.348.228.1652) or drop an email either to or, and they will set up an appointment with you at the booth.

Vinitaly has been going on since 1967. A few dozen wine makers were present at that first event. Since then it has grown steadily to become a complete wine blowout every year. (View history here.)

Just to give you an idea as to how big it is, here are some vital stats on this year's Vinitaly:

  • 89,630 sq.m. of net area
  • 4,215 exhibitors (148 international)
  • 157,177 visitors (43,524 international, up by 16% over the 2007 edition)
  • 2,054 journalists (347 international)

So if you're into wine and you're in Europe, chances are you're already at Vinitaly. Please do stop over to the Il Mio Vino booth. Tell them Will Conley sent you. If they don't know what you're talking about, act real surprised and say, "You don't know who Will Conley is?"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Apparently Someone Thinks This Blog Has Hit The Big Time (HA!)

Trolls happen. It's a fact of social media.

What is a troll? A troll is a person who harasses people online. They attempt to evoke an emotional response. They target a person and they generally do not stop until they have had a few laughs at someone else's expense. Without getting into any gory details, I can assure you that trolling has sometimes ended very badly in real life - either for the target or for the troll himself/herself.

Obviously that's boring.

This blog has officially been hit by its first troll. You don't need to read the comment that was posted twice. I can tell you it was somewhat creative but definitely mean-spirited. It was intended to discourage me and others from participating in Westward Invasion 2009. The troll knows that some people are easily frightened. It is an interesting psychological phenomenon, I will say that much.

But just because it's interesting or entertaining doesn't make it worthwhile. As I stated in my response to the comments (now deleted) I have no problem with censorship. None whatsoever. On the Internet it's called comment moderation. That's where I get to delete any comment I want.

Well, since I don't feel like dealing with it, I'm instituting automatic comment moderation on this blog. I will approve any and all comments that agree with me, disagree with me, make fun of someone or something, opine in a loud manner, speak in a soft tone, lampoon me, encourage people, offer constructive criticism, or pretty much anything else. I will even approve a comment if it is completely off-topic.

I will not approve spam or trolling.

We clear? All good? Let the good times troll. I mean roll.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour, or Twearth Hour If You Will

blackout 3
Originally uploaded by polkabike
This blog is about social media. Talk about a broad topic. Allows me to write about, oh, I don't know, how about Earth Hour. I found out about it through Twitter.

I joined Earth Hour fifteen minutes late tonight. At 9:15 p.m. I turned off all my lights, shut down my computer, turned off my music and just laid there in my bed with my shoes and clothes on.

I thought about tigers, as @cara19 has pointed out I am doing a lot of recently. Tigers are what some people are deep down. They struggle bravely to live peaceably as a human among humans. They sometimes lash out, but they are tigers. One does not begrudge a tiger its instincts. One does not try to reason with it, make it purr or snuggle with it. One stands at a safe distance and respects the magnificent beast.

I rested the mind.

I laughed. Yeah, I laughed. Why? Because tension was melting away. For once I was lying down not because I was exhausted but because I had some social reason to do so. To express solidarity with people who care more about things like Earth Hour than I do.

I am a cynic. I do not believe Earth Hour will save the world. I do believe it can heighten consciousness. It can provide a sense of community.

At 10:00 p.m. I turned on one light and for once it was enough. Glad to have my computer back. I love my toys.

On Twitter, I found others doing Earth Hour in a variety of ways.

Amazing what you can do in the dark, isn't it.

Two songs to capture the spirit of Earth Hour. The first is a dark and stormy hip hop song by underground lyricist Acey Alone called "Lights Out". Sayid and High Priest guest rap. I can't find an online version or sample for you to listen to but here is the song's page.

The second is a rawk song by Bad Religion. The chorus goes:

I'm a 21st-century digital boy
I don't know how to live but I got a lotta toys
(Listen to the whole track on

Those lyrics state a problem worth considering, do they not? Did you do Earth Hour to any extent? Did you not? How was that for you? Do you care all that much?

It's okay, you can be honest. This is Man of Many Words.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why West? Because It's There.

Saul Williams
Originally uploaded by Jeremy Farmer Photog
I want to help people overcome their fears. I want to be that T-bone collision that gets people off the highway and onto the back roads. To become pioneers, all of us.

Do you realize how gripped you are with fear? Do you know you can do anything you want - at least in comparison to what you are doing?

I love Saul Williams. His song "Coded Language" has saved my life. Gave it meaning, enriched it, reinvigorated it - dozens of times. An apt excerpt:

"Your current frequencies of understanding outweigh that which has been given for you to understand.

"The current standard is the equivalent of an adolescent restricted to the diet of an infant.

"The rapidly changing body would acquire dysfunctional and deformative symptoms and could not properly mature on a diet of apple sauce and crushed pears."

Listen to the whole track if you want.

That whole idea - that we are accidentally living life normally when we could be living it extraordinarily and making the extraordinary normal - is one of my motives for organizing Westward Invasion 2009.

Another motivation is that the United States is often pooh-poohed as too domestic for any self-respecting traveler to bother with.

In fact, some people think the United States is actually five or nine different countries bundled into one monolithic beast of a bureaucracy. In fact, people are different wherever you go in this country. I want to talk to them and see all their secret gardens, don't you?

Besides, even if you think you already know the U.S., consider that "A fish knows not wetness for wetness is all it knows. Make friends with whales and birds to learn water."

As you were.

Or as you want to be.

Whatever Happened to the One-Word Brand Game, Hmmm?


Wordle: Will Conley's Wordle (click the image) a "Wordle": a word cloud of all my tweets from Septemeber 2008 through March 2009. Word or tag clouds are intuitive visualizations of a set of words based on frequency. The larger words represent more frequent occurences of those words, the smaller words just the opposite.

You'll notice the most prominent word in my Wordle is "onewordbrand". That's a game I was running a couple months ago where you "brand" your friends in one word and add the hashtag "#onewordbrand". Try it out if you're on Twitter.

I promised participants of the #onewordbrand game a tag cloud of all their one-word brands. That never worked out because I am lazy and because people had a hard time figuring out how to play the game. I guess it was deceptively simple. The questions I received were neverending.

So if you played the game consider this your consolation prize. Go to and make your own word cloud.

There. All-better-now.

Also on the bright side: The #onewordbrand game got you to make more connections and solidify old ones. That's what it's all about, baby.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Social Media Experiment on the Grand Scale: Westward Invasion 2009

What is Westward Invasion 2009?
Short answer: An emigration. An adventure. An erasure of the boundary between online and offline. A social media experiment on the grand scale. A reality show that is actually worth watching, broadcast in a decentralized manner in real time by you, sponsored by visionaries.

Clear answer: Westward Invasion is an emigration and adventure opportunity for me and you. I am moving to California. Some of you are coming with me. Others will just travel with us for all or part of the journey. We're packing light and taking the slow route, curling a path all over the West, visiting places both mundane and fantastical. Invaders who live in the West will act as hosts for a day. Those who don't want to participate IRL (In Real Life) can do so virtually. Sponsors are invited to pay attention.

The whole thing will be blogged and vlogged here and elsewhere. I am inviting everyone I know on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, this blog, your blogs, and other networks to participate on some level. How far can social media go to make things happen in the real world? Is it possible to erase the line between online and offline?

I invite you to join Westward Invasion 2009. No commitment is implied when you join the network. Just get your face up there, tell us about yourself, share some of your own ideas, poke around, ask questions, get excited about possibilities. Everything is explained there - inasmuch as Westward Invasion can be explained. We are in build-and-brainstorm mode, so I am wide open to ideas.

While you're at it, get with me on Twitter if you're into that sort of thing. I like it.

Talk to you soon. Be fierce.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Make Me a Peanut Butter Sandwich

Chunky peanut butter. It can be plain, or you can put some butter on that first, makes it go down easy. Or just some strawberry preserves. But I'll take straight peanut butter with the bread too. Can be white or wheat, but wheat is healthier. If the bread's got all kinds of nuts and grains and stuff in it, good. Like a nine-grain, or a 24-grain. I'll probably eat it in the sunlight with some lemonade as it's such a nice day out. This is all theoretical and could probably be improved upon, so I'm open to suggestions. Thanks.

The sandwich that appears in this post is not how to make me a peanut butter sandwich. There is cabbage on it. I don't want cabbage on mine. I don't want Spam on it either, but I'll try it, I guess. You can see a lot of disgusting looking peanut butter sandwiches - and use them freely for commercial or personal purposes - by using Flickr's Advanced Search feature.

How to Use Flickr's Advanced Search Feature to Find Images for Free Personal or Commercial Use:

1. Go to
2. Click "Search".
3. Click "Advanced Search".
4. Type "peanut butter sandwich" (or whatever you're looking for) in the search box.
5. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen.
6. Mark the box that reads "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content".
7. Optionally, mark the boxes that read "Find content to use commercially" and/or "Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon."
8. Click "Search."

Or just click here for the disgusting peanut butter sandwiches.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Move Somewhere Warm This Autumn

I'm spearheading a westward invasion this autumn and you’re coming with me. Enough is enough, the cold winters blow, and the road is the safest place on Earth.

Couple of suitcases, my laptop in my backpack, some clothes and a good pair of walking boots. Three months rent in advance on a furnished room in California.

With six months lead time that’s a doable goal.

Hopping a Greyhound to do it. It’ll be my own little Merry Pranksters bus only I don’t have to pay for gas.

You wanna come with? We’ll coordinate a schedule.

The rules:

1. You pay your own way.

2. You pack light and don’t be addicted to your material things.

3. You must have a sense of adventure.

4. You must be physically fit. The Greyhound ain’t for the faint of heart.

5. You must not be too picky about what happens at the end of the journey.

6. You must live somewhere on Earth. We will all meet up somewhere between Minnesota and
California, sometime.

7. You must have at least one or two “nice” outfits. We might all get jobs working in Silicon Valley on the way. Bring overalls too; we might end up working construction.

That is the vision. Sunshine, that California flakiness – all of it – here I come.

If you’re interested in a fearless hobo journey beginning Autumn 2009, get in touch with Will Conley. Let’s see if we can’t make this country more interesting.

I’m open to changing plans too. It all depends on who’s interested and who’s got big cojones. Get in touch with me on Twitter or Facebook.

The Two People I Have Met in Person Because of Twitter

Thus far I have met two people face-to-face because of Twitter. (Note: The following story was inspired by @ElliFordyce, @JosephRueter, and

Elli Fordyce (@ellifordyce) :

72-year-old jazz singer based in Yonkers, New York. She’s hipper to social media than most people one-third her age.

We met this January at a little pizza joint situated underneath the train tracks in downtown Yonkers, where I lived until 2009. Elli and I talked life history, life coaching, social media, and music. The conversation was punctuated at regular intervals by the Metro North commuter line and Amtrak trains roaring overhead.

Elli hired me as her social media adviser to help promote her albums. I hope to stay in touch with her long after she has surpassed all need for my advice.

Joseph Rueter (@josephrueter) :

Entrepreneur and sharp-as-a-razor proprietor of, the ingeniously simple web link headquarters for anyone and everyone. (Think of extendr as your virtual business card.)

Joseph and I met this month at the Caribou Coffee on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, the city in which we both currently reside. He regaled me with some interesting insider information about how he goes about designing and implementing various social networking strategies.

Joseph urges all those who meet online to “Don’t just wave. Say hello.”

Twitter rocks. For me, no other social network I use has been single-handedly responsible for an in-person meeting. I hope to have many more “tweetups” in the coming months.

This autumn, 2009, I am spearheading a westward invasion from Minnesota to California, and some of you are coming with me. It’s going to be huge. Details at

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Open Cry for Help to

To explain:

Woot! is a product review website and distributor. They write funny reviews. Hilarious, even. As I am always on the lookout for new clients, I thought I would hit up Woot! for some freelance writing work. The contact page on was frightening, so I said screw it and wrote an email posing as a depressingly poverty-stricken person begging for a job. So Woot!, open your damn email or just read this post and respond. People are starving.

Subject: So funny you won't believe I'm unemployed.

Seriously, how can one so funny be so jobless?

Hi. I'm Will Conley, and welcome to My Cry for Help. Brought to you by:

My landlady.

These and other fine clients (and my mom) are supporting me in my time of need, but not quite enough. That's why I'm foregoing six meals in a row to craft this email to, so that I might make a plea for paid employment, if only on a trial basis. I have no food.

Send me one product and I will review the living f*ck out of it for Just to show you how flexible I am, you can pay me whatever you want, as long as it's $500, give or take my last remaining shred of pride.

I love you.

Desperately Hilarious

My Awesome Sponsor: Seriously, Who Doesn't Love Italian Wine? Be Honest Now.

Introducing: Me! Brought to you by:

Il Mio Vino, the Italian wine magazine, now available in English. Want a free issue? Click here. Fill in your name and email address. You will not be asked for a credit card. Later, if you want, you can get a year's worth of Il Mio Vino (12 issues) for $4.99.

Here's the deal. My client, Il Mio Vino, has been publishing their magazine and distributing hard copies on newsstands throughout Italy for years. This January they finally came out with an English version, but here's the twist: it's only available online, in a PDF-based flash program called FlipIt. Basically the thing looks and behaves almost exactly like a regular magazine.

You flip the pages, you browse stories, you get your read on, you get the inside dope on some of the lesser-known Italian wineries and you end up looking cool in front of your friends and enemies.

So how is Il Mio Vino different than a regular Italian wine magazine? Obviously, the first way is that it does not exist in the physical world. Il Mio Vino decided to publish online-only for cost and environmental considerations. No paper, no plastic sleeves, no shipping costs, infinitesimal carbon footprint. It just makes sense to publish online these days. Especially when you look at how some of the old heavyweight publishing companies and news conglomerates are crumbling into bankruptcy.

Some other features of Il Mio Vino's FlipIt format:

1. You can bookmark pages "flag"-style. Neat and tidy that way.
2. You can zoom in and out, scroll to any page, and view the magazine in fullscreen mode.
3. It is fully searchable (only single-word searches, for now).
4. Download and print any full story in PDF format.
5. When you scroll over ads they light up and you can click them if you feel so inclined.

Il Mio Vino prides itself on its totally blind taste tests and stringent editorial standards. The two latest controversies in the wine industry:

  • Wine Spectator recently gave out a wine award to a restaurant that failed to exist. Oops.
  • Decanter has been widely rumor to sell positive reviews to highest bidder. D'oh!

I'm a journalist by training, so I'll give it to you straight: I'm new to the world of wine tastings, celebrity taste buds, Gary Vaynerchuck and that whole crowd. I don't know how often these wine reviewers let ethics fall through the cracks, and I don't know that anyone is particularly immune to lapses in judgment. But I have never heard of Il Mio Vino being caught with its pants down like that. So far it's got a nice clean reputation. Therefore if you're looking for credibility, I suppose you should make Il Mio Vino one of your wine information sources.

Am I right or am I foul? How can you tell what's a credible source for good information about wine? Let me know in the comments.

Il Mio Vino focuses on reviewing wines from the smaller producers. These vineyards generally have no advertising budget, so this is a nice way for them to get seen. The benefit for readers is that they get to learn about some of the one million-plus "ma-and-pa" wineries that produce top-notch stuff but just don't have the money to get reviewed in Decanter. (Oops, did I just take a potshot at the competition? My bad.)

In the same spirit, Il Mio Vino often pits less-expensive wines against pricier varietals/blends in blind taste tests. The February issue, for example, features a story entitled "David versus Goliath: Six Sagrantinos at less than $70 vs. one at $126."

I'll let you read the story to see who wins.

So that's my sponsor these days. Do me a solid: take a look at the magazine and tell me what you think.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How to Share Admin Permissions on a Facebook Group You Control

To make someone an admin on a Facebook group, you have to add them as a friend, invite them to join the group, and then make them an admin.

Those are the simple instructions. If you know how to do that, stop reading and go play outside or something. If you get stuck, however, here are the

Detailed Instructions on How to Make Someone an Admin on a Facebook Group You Control:

1. Log into your account on FB.

2. Find and "friend" the person you want to make an Admin of the Group.

3. Check to make sure the person has confirmed your friendship.

4. Go to the Group.

5. Click "Invite People to Join" in the right-hand menu.

6. Find and check-mark your friend in the drop-down list at right (or just type her name and hit enter to search).

7. Make sure his name appeared at left.

8. Click "Send Invitations"

9. Check to make sure the person joined the group.

10. Go back to the Group.

11. Click "Edit Members" in the right-hand menu.

12. Find his name in the list (or just type her name and hit enter to search).

13. Click "Make Admin".

It seems like a long process but it's shorter than you think. I just included every little step from beginning to end. Drop a comment and let me know how it all went down for you.

Note: This post was cribbed from some instructions I wrote to a client this morning. I figured other people might want to know the same thing. Hey look at me, multiplying my efforts, effortlessly. That's how I roll. Smooth.