Category Archives: Social Media

The new Guidebook App for HISTORICON 2017 has been published

Greetings, this is my second try. I don’t know why or how WordPress just ate my previous posts but here we go again.

new Historicon 2017 guidebook, Web page version.

It’s that time of year. Historicon is upon us. You may want to use Guidebook, the elegant little convention directory app that works pretty well on IoS devices, Ipads, Android phones and any smartphone that can display a webpage.

Changes are pretty minimal in the interface (the part that the users see). The background content delivery technology is going through some changes, but most of that will be invisible.  General Info (front page, theme, address, directions) is the same, Schedule pretty much the same (and containing just Events and Tournaments this year).   My Schedule consists of events you’ve saved to your schedule.  Twitter works as before– you can live tweet during the convention.  I think the tags are #historicon #historicon2017 #hmgs_inc and #miniatures.  You’ll have to authorize access to twitter by the app itself.  Maps are the same, To-Do List is the same, and HMGS on Facebook points to the HMGS page on FB– you can post there from this app.  War College & Hobby University are now using their own list, making them easier to find.  Con Staff & where to find them is a list of staff leads.   Photo Album hasn’t changed, though it is underutilized.  Inbox is a way for con mgt. to broadcast to users in a hurry.  FAQs is a new list that I leached from the HMGS Historicon page.  Exhibitors hasn’t changed.

I know I have belabored the guidebook people taking the “Tracks” function away, but the addition of the new Seminars list has made it easier to compartmentalize events on Guidebook.  Schedule now just has Games and Tournaments in it, but you can sort tournaments out easily enough, simply by searching on the key word Tournaments:

And that sorts out all the tournaments.


Simple: the landing page for the IOS version, the Android version and smart phones is here. 

The version on a web page is here

That should be enough to get you started.  Specific pictures of features are on other Guidebook blog posts on this blog (I’ve been doing this for a while) if you are interested.

Late edit:

People were emailing me saying they were having problems adding events to their personal schedules (the “My Schedule” item in the menu). I had to go back and turn check in ON, and republish, but that has it fixed. For review purposes, see the graphic below.

see the plus sign in a circle to the right of the event title? Click on THAT to add the event to your personal schedule. Enjoy the event!


How to share Events You are Running or Playing at a Convention on Social Media

As you know by reading the last post, I just got the Guidebook App up for COLD WARS 2013.  It turns out the good folks at Guidebook have added a few new features that facilitate sharing the events you will be either running or playing on regular Social Media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.  This post will run down how to do that using the new Guidebook App.
My example will be the upcoming COLD WARS 2013 convention, details here:  You will need the Guidebook app for this, installed on some device you will be using.  Refer to the post directly before this one for how to get it, install it, and download the specific guide for COLD WARS 2013, which is a dam’ fine job, if I do say so.

Is everything set up with Guidebook?  Great, moving on!


In this example, I have already selected a game called PIG WARS (see the check?), a game I’m actually interested in playing, and I’ve added this to my personal schedule.


You read this and say to yourself.. .”Hey, Self, that’s a game that looks like I want to play it! Now I want to tell all my best buddies all about it.. but HOW? Well, it’s pretty easy, actually….”


Click the button with the little horizontal lines, top right. This is the SHARING MENU. You have a few choices here.. share this event via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, TEXT or EMAIL. I should point out that you will need accounts in Facebook and Twitter to use this feature.

Here’s what it looks like to share an event to Facebook:

If you want to share an event to Facebook, and who wouldn’t, this dialogue box will pop up. You can edit the text.

And the result on Facebook looks like this

Each event you share to Facebook shows up ON YOUR FACEBOOK WALL. You can then share that out to other walls, other friends, other groups, via Facebook’s SHARE methods.


Twitter is about as easy as Facebook.

Twitter is limited to 140 characters, so you may have to edit if you want to add #hashtags. Note that the Twitter interface doesn’t automatically shorten the URL, which can limit your space. Still, it’s a HUGE audience, so it’s worth a shot.

The result looks like this on Twitter:

This is what my PIG WARS example looks like shared out to Twitter. The listing is pretty tight so not much in the way of extra characters. I added the Groucho nose because, well, Groucho makes everything even better.

Texting and Emailing are kind of self explanatory in the 21st century, but just in case this is what sharing an event by those methods would look like:

Texting your event to someone at the other end

And the ubiquitous email:

Sending your event via email. You probably could type up an email yourself, but Guidebook takes all the pertinent information about your event and shoves it into an email all pre-prepared and stuff.

That is pretty much a run down on the social media and information sharing aspects of the Guidebook app. Why is it important to share events to the wide world? Simple exposure, that’s why. Social media works on a simple analogue to word of mouth advertising. Someone shares something that tickles their fancy, and that gets shared, and that gets shared, and after a while it’s a viral phenomenon. If you work in an organization putting on a convention and want to get the word out to a wider audience of potential players, the biggest no-brainer out there is to use social media channels. Why do you think so many celebrities (and NON-celebrities) use Twitter and Facebook? Simple marketing, that’s why!

So, in short, here’s a tool for you to use, it’s free, have fun and go out and promote the hell out your events.. the more that we do together, the more people will see how incredibly cool and interesting our hobby is, and come to our shows. It takes a lot of interest to get people out of their comfort zones enough to trek to the middle of Pennsylvania or Virginia, so it’s up to all of us to get the word out.

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Veva, you little tease, you…

Recently, I got a message from a total stranger on Facebook, by the name of Veva Schrills. She was reasonably ordinary looking, not unpleasant but not a raving beauty either, and sent a request for friendship with this explanation (which is rare enough):

Hi ! I came across your wall,wanted to say hello ok i will tell you a bit more about myself, As far as my personality, I’m very open minded, honest, easy going, definitely a gentle type, and I love to make people laugh.If you’re interested in chatting, feel free to write back when you have the chance. If there’s anything you’d like to know about me, just feel free to ask away as I’m a very open lady.

Now, the TEXT is nothing out of the ordinary, my spam box is full of this kind of stuff, usually with similar language about how she’s a lonely college kid just trying to get ahead, come see her webcam, signup for a dating site, etc.  That’s usually what “I’m very open-minded” means.  The phenomenon is called Camwhoring. It’s been around for a while. What made it odd for me was this was a first for FACEBOOK. AND! someone I know on FB had friended her. I denied her request, asking:

I’m sorry, I’m clueless why you messaged me. Do we know each other somehow?

Then ran a simple google search on the name VEVA SCHRILLS.

All those Vevas!  I feel like I’m cheering on a flamenco dancer!  And look!  most of them are from the same town in Belton, Missouri!  And went to the same high school!  And are members of the same Alumini Org!  And went to the same college, University of Missouri!  All named the same name!

What an astounding coinicidence!

Wow, Veva gets around

The RED arrow was the Veva who messaged me. The yellow arrows are the others that seem very similar. The two without arrows actually might be called Veva Schrills, who knows.

So for the lonely hearts out there, when Veva comes a knocking, I’d ask for some bona fides.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

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Diaspora: A User-Controlled Social Network, could it be the alternative to Facebook?

I’ve been on Facebook for a little less than a year, ostensibly to track my teenaged daughter’s web presence but I’ve also discovered it’s fun to catch up with people I haven’t seen in (sadly) decades.  In the past year I’ve ranged from excited, to interested, to resigned, and then bored with the banality of it all.   Facebook has engendered increasing concern over their somewhat mercurial notions of user privacy.  Interestingly, there appears to be an alternative on the horizon that is both Open Source and user-driven: Diaspora.

(quoting from, all rights reserved)

The idea behind Diaspora* is to place existing networking technologies back into the hands of their users, to let them determine the types and styles of information they want to share. The New York Times reports:

“In our real lives, we talk to each other,” he said. “We don’t need to hand our messages to a hub. What Facebook gives you as a user isn’t all that hard to do. All the little games, the little walls, the little chat, aren’t really rare things. The technology already exists.”

Diaspora* software will allow users to develop custom, personal servers, called seeds, forming a decentralized flow of data. This is a valuable commodity among an increasingly informed user base, as the New York Times explains:

“The terms of the bargain people make with social networks— you swap personal information for convenient access to their sites—have been shifting, with the companies that operate the networks collecting ever more information about their users. That information can be sold to marketers.

‘When you give up that data, you’re giving it up forever,” Mr. [Max] Salzberg [one of the Diaspora* developers] said. “The value they give us is negligible in the scale of what they are doing, and what we are giving up is all of our privacy.’”

Related: Diaspora*: A User-Controlled Social Network.

The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World

New Media the Service of the Word

In his address to the recent 44th World Communications Day, His Holiness, Pope Benedictus XVI, urged the shepherds of his flock to blog, podcast, Twitter and facebook– not in so many words, but without a doubt his intention is clear. The priesthood should make use of the potentialities of the social media explosion:

Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put into practice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God concretely present in today’s world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better future? Consecrated men and women working in the media have a special responsibility for opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord’s presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human development. In this way the Word can traverse the many crossroads created by the intersection of all the different “highways” that form “cyberspace”, and show that God has his rightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the new communications media, the Lord can walk the streets of our cities and, stopping before the threshold of our homes and our hearts, say once more: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

Far be it from me to oppose His Holiness’ vision of a wired, connected church. It’s sad, really, how little has been done in the last decade or so, although there are definitely priests who take advantage of new media– just not a significant amount compared to the Catholic population. I am on Twitter, and I only follow a few real, bona-fide priests (and I have looked for them before). Check out @fatherz, @FrRobertBarron, @msgrLloyd, and @vaticanen (the allegedly the Vatican’s Twitter account, but I have my doubts). You can find a listing of twitter accounts with the word “Priest” associated with them here (some of these are other forms of Priest, such as Anglican, etc.). One of my personal favorites is a podcast by a true Catholic media pioneer from Holland, Father Roderick, who produces “The Break” on a regular basis, a podcast with excellent production values and a clear message. There are more Catholic podcasts– I sometimes listen to The Catholic Answer Live, for instance, but I like the Break the most. There are more podcasts coming out every day, which is very hopeful to me, being a Catholic.

I think the new social media technology is a natural step for priests, as it is an easily reachable, welcoming and affordable media outlet for pastoral ministry. I look forward to seeing more “Father Rodericks” in the future!

Your History Moment: Twitting the Pepys-verse

Forgive the insipid tagline– I didn’t actually chose the new hip tech lingo for micro-blogging/social networking/microchat or whatever you might call the phenomenon created by the Twitter service.  I do, however, use Twitter (as TheLastBrunch), so when in Rome.

Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys, diarist extraordinaire

One of the more impressive uses I’ve seen made of Twitter’s service is the ‘micro-community’ of 17th century voices that have clustered around one Twitter account:  samuelpepys Yes.  The diarist.  If you don’t understand who Samuel Pepys was, you might want to go look him up right now.  Google will get you started.  “Sam” himself was not someone destined for greatness, if you consider his professional achievements, which were essentially to be a mid-ranking naval bureaucrat and member of Parliment.  It is highly unlikely we would ever have even heard of his existence (aside from some odd mention in the Naval Gazette), were it not for one singular achievement.  He kept a diary.  Of everything.  And what a diary it was– Pepys was a compulsive chronicler.  EVERY DAY, for decades, he wrote something about what happened to him that day– from a few sentences to a couple of pages.   And this was no grand overview of historical events– the Pepys diary is a veritable snapshot into another century’s day to day living– from constipation to visits from the King.   It’s a very earthy, enjoyable read.. it drags here and there but the overall result is quite entertaining.

In any event, some kind (but anonymous) soul has taken on a magnificent project: they have taken the online archive of Samuel Pepys diaries, parsed them for a daily segment that best represents the activities of Mr. Pepys for that day in history, and converted it to be posted as a “Twitter Tweet”.    So if you are fond of the idea of viewing into the 17th century on a daily basis, I highly recommend adding Mr. Pepys to your friends list.  Of course, you have to have your own Twitter account, first.

Mr. Samuel Pepys: “Diarist Extraordinaire”

Oddly enough there has been a growing micro-community of 17th century “voices” on Twitter that play off of Pepys’ Diaries– characters mentioned often in the main diary series (such as Mr. Pepys’ wife) now have their own accounts as well, and they appear to interact with each other from time to time.  I have no idea if this is one human creating all of this activity from whole cloth or if more enthusiastic Twitters have jumped on Mr. Pepys’ 17th century bandwagon.

Mrs. Samuel Pepys, “Elisabeth, married to Sam, quondam scribbler”

Frances Stewart, “lady who has no wish to be mistress for any man to be master of her.”

Queen Catherine Braganza, “Portugese Princess married to Charles, King of England,with bloom all lost from my sickness”

Lady Barbara Castlemaine, “Commander of the King’s Heart and Purse”

William Hewer, “Clerk to Mr Samuel Pepys, most kind and honourable Gentleman”

Wayneman Birch, “I am servant to the Pepys household courtesy of my sister Jane”

Jane Birch, “maid to Mr Samuel Pepys, a master I serve as well as he serves me”

Several of these accounts map directly to members of the Pepys household, past or present, so perhaps the person or persons responsible for the diaries being Tweeted wishes to expand the narrative for multiple points of view, Rashomon style.  I generally regard to be somewhat superfluous, but useful on occasion.  I really like the ‘microPepys-verse’ that all this interrelated activity creates.  Part of it is stark reality, part of it blatant supposition, and the whole of it rather entertaining.  A very interesting use of social media technology, indeed.

In honor of Sam Pepys’ work, I have 86’d the feed for my Pandora stations and am now feeding in a daily hyperlink to the current Pepys Diary entry (right hand side of this page).  Enjoy.