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It’s Official – I Have a Big Brain

A few weeks ago I got a message from Jonathan McNamara of the Phoenix New Times informing me that I had been nominated and was a finalist for the 2011 Big Brain Awards.  The Big Brain Awards are annual awards give out by the New Times to exceptional and innovative people in the arts in the Phoenix community.  I never thought that I would be nominated, let alone a finalist.  The committee started with nearly 400 nominees and whittled the list down to 18 finalists, 3 in each of 6 categories.  I’m a finalist in the Performing Arts category.

I was selected as a finalist because of my work with Improv AZ and because of Sponsor A Law Kid.  I am very excited and humbled to be nominated.  I have been blown away by the phenomenal people I’ve met in the Phoenix area in the last two years that to be singled out for my work is quite an honor.

I will find out if I’m a Big Brain winner or just honored to be nominated this Saturday at Artopia.

None of this could have happened without the love, support, and guidance from some special people in my life:

There are two special people I need to single out and thank for their support and guidance.

  1. Jeff Moriarty – If it wasn’t for Jeff organizing the first No Pants Ride, none of this would have ever happened.  There wouldn’t be Improv AZ, and I wouldn’t have met most of the amazing people in my life today.  Jeff was also the person who encouraged me to become a blogger and helped make Undeniable Ruth possible.
  2. Evo Terra – Evo is one of the most outspoken and brilliant people that I know.  A few months ago I asked him how he he developed a thick skin against criticism.  He responded, “Figure out who’s opinions matter to you. Then genuinely do not give a shit what anyone else thinks.”  That is easier said than done, but those have become my guiding words when I’m against people who disagree with what I write or what I do.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get this far.  I’m up against some phenomenal people this Saturday: Tom Leveen and Joseph Perez.  While it would be nice to win, I will be pleased regardless of the outcome.

 

 

SALK Day 13 – Friendships Through Social Media

Today’s sponsor is my friend, Debbie Walker, who is an outspoken blogger and podcaster.  She asked me to write about how our involvement in “social media type events” led to friendships between participants.

Phoenix is a city known for its transplants.  It seems like everyone here moved from somewhere else.  This is also a city where it is hard to find new friends and establish a sense of community.  This was a complaint I heard all the time when I was a therapist.  My suggestion to my clients was to get involved in activities that they enjoyed and that would lead to meeting people with similar interests.   Social media has made this process even easier.

#EVFN San Tan Brewery
Image by sheiladeeisme via Flickr

There are a host of events that are organized through social media that bring together people who otherwise would probably never meet.  Some of these local events are Podcamp AZ, #evfn, Ignite Phoenix, and events by Improv AZ.  Some of these events are educational and some are just for fun, but they all involve smart witty people who want to meet and converse with other smart witty people.

One of the wonderful things about making connections through “social media type events” is that it facilitates friendship between diverse people.  For most of us, “social media type events” are what we do in our free time.  By day, we’re advertisers, teachers, writers, students, and business owners.  Most of us are people whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross if it weren’t for our shared interest in social media and volunteering at social media events.

The best thing about these events is that they constantly bring other people into the mix.  None of these events involve an exclusive group.  We always welcome new friendly people.  It can be daunting to be the new person at an event, but the people that attend these events are always willing to talk to the new guy.  I was once the new guy and I was petrified of attending an event where I didn’t know anyone.  I started with a prank event where I met one person.  He invited me to be part of the core organizers of Improv AZ.  That led to me learning about, presenting at, and now volunteering with Ignite Phoenix.  My conversations with these fantastic people led to my interest in podcasting and blogging which led to my invovlement with PodcampAZ.  Somewhere in there I also added the Social Media Club Phoenix and #evfn.  The people who were strangers to me two years ago are now some of my closest friends.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Debbie Walker. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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