A sampling of all NABE's creatures, great and small. Pet Dog Cat

A sampling of all NABE’s creatures, great and small.

Gather enough battle-weary association communicators, and who knows what you’ll get?

Actually, we now know: #PetsofNABE (A link to the entire story via Storify is here.)

The hashtag idea arose at the annual meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives. At a luncheon banquet in the Chicago Hyatt Regency, more than a dozen folks shoehorned themselves around a table to discuss the NABE website—which we as a committee were charged to do.

Over the hour, we also chatted about the other NABE channels, including Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.

It was the Twitter that got us sidetracked. It’s always the Twitter.

I can’t (won’t) recall who first came up with the idea—though it would surprise no one if it turned out to be Kallie Donahoe and Sayre Happich of the Bar Association of San Francisco (just sayin’).

“What about a contest hashtag to engage people?” the chat began innocently enough. “Or what about just urging, I don’t know, pictures of your pets?”

Seminar-addled, the committee rapidly agreed to the experiment. We have the Twitter, we have the dogs (etc.), let’s get jiggy with it. Done. A hotel dessert has never tasted so sweet.

After that, I conveyed this hashtag notion to the NABE’s Web Editor, Brad Carr. Brad has been a legal association executive for decades, and therefore he: (1) has seen it all, and (2) is unflappable. Still, I thought he might be a tetch … flapped.

But no. He just listened and nodded (at least I think he nodded during our Arizona-Alabama phone call). On Friday morning, I awoke to the following tweet:

Would folks respond? Would they tear themselves away from their Friday duties to post their pets and to gaze lovingly at those of their colleagues?

I’m totally kidding right there. Of course they would.

As I mention in my Storify of the hashtag, #PetsofNABE may not have broken the Internet, but it did sneak onto its couch for a little bit.

The story exists here, but the hashtag lives. More animals are added all the time—and with it, the growing engagement of busy and talented people.

A serious tip of the hat to the pioneering Brad Carr and to the website committee that can’t stop ‘til it gets enough.

Have a wonderful—and pet-filled—weekend.

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The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to present on communications to hundreds of lawyers. Fortunately, prizes were involved. And soon, I’ll announce even more of them.

No, no prizes for me. My prize was the opportunity once again to speak to legal leaders at the American Bar Association Leadership Institute. I had 30 minutes to explore how and why we all communicate well (and sometimes less than well), as individuals and as associations.

I then got to introduce smart people from bar associations around the country, each of whom addressed a core area of communications: in print, in person, and in electronic media. Those folks were Mark Mathewson of the Illinois Bar, Meredith Avakian of the Philadelphia Bar, and Karen Korr of the San Diego County Bar. I think it’s fair to say we all hit it out of the park. (What, you want evidence? Cruise over here to enjoy the Storify I created from our morning’s presentations. We were all pleased at the amount of engagement that surrounded us, and that clearly extended to the web.)

But … I mentioned prizes.

They included the prizes I handed out during my presentation, when folks accurately answered questions.

The audience was terrific and responded immediately when I queried them. And those who answered correctly received … audiocassettes.

That’s right. Old-fashioned music cassettes. I found them at Phoenix vintage stores, and they were quite a hit. But then again, who doesn’t love Leslie Gore singing “It’s My Party,” or Sonny and Cher reminding us that “I got you, babe”?

Here is a tweet from one attendee who won the Sonny & Cher love:

So what were my questions that led to music prizes, you wonder? I asked the audience to complete a quote by George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

… and I asked what movie was the source for the following quote regarding “turning the dial to 11”:

turn the dial to 11 This Is Spinal Tap

So, why the cassette mania? Well, it had a communications connection. It emerged from an essay that I was taken with, by Don MacKinnon. It’s titled “Mixtapes: The Future of Creation?” You can read it here.

My other prizes—the ones yet to be announced—are being given to audience members who were the session’s best tweeters. The mind races.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you who those talented social-media folks are—and what they’re getting.

In the meantime, you may enjoy a list of all of my sources, compiled (of course) as mixtape liner notes (click to see the PDF):

ABA BLI 2015 additional reading handout eigo