A funny thing happened on the way to the webinar (the one I moderated for Matindale Hubbell Connected last week; my first time doing that by the way). We scheduled a webinar as part of our “Social Media Solutions” theme about creating social media policies. VP of Legal from Chiney Capital, James Wong, was our first scheduled speaker. I spent the weeks before the webinar emailing with James and on the phone, while looking for two other panelists to accompany him. We got Melanie Green, CMO from Baker Daniels (a large law firm in Indianapolis). She brought a working knowledge of Twitter and how she had gone from social media skeptic to promoter after seeing how well the tool worked for her firm. To round out the panel we wanted a non-lawyer perspective. My colleague Alin Wagner-Lahmy enthusiastically suggested a new Connected member named Howard Greenstein, who was a recognized expert in social media.
With our panel firmly in place we turned towards having a group call with everybody the week before the webinar to coordinate roles and subject matter. The call went well. Everyone seemed to hit it off, and at the end of the call agreed that our presentation would be fine if we just did what we did on the call.
I thought nothing more about our presenters outside of the bounds of what we neededto do for the webinar. On Monday (or maybe it was Tuesday), Howard Greenstein called me to talk about the slides he had forwarded me for the presentation I was putting together. The idea was we’d put the power point and playback of the webinar in the Connected community for those who couldn’t make the Thursday event. About five minutes into the call, Howard says, “I’ve got to ask you something, unrelated to this.”
“Okay,” I said wondering what it could be.
“Do you have an Uncle Arthur,” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said (one of those longer yeahs that is almost a question itself: why do you ask).
“And cousins,” he said, “Ally and Rebecca?” I told him I did. “And your father’s name is Marc?” What did this guy do a people search on me?
“Yeah,” I said, “why do you ask?”
“I’m your cousin,” he said, “your cousin Howard Greenstein. I thought your name sounded familiar when we first connected, but I didn’t put it together until this weekend.”
Wow: Howard Greenstein, social media guru was my cousin through marriage. I had known him practically whole life, but hadn’t seen him since my grandmother’s funeral twelve years ago. And here we were, working on a webinar panel together, and it took a few exchanges to realize who we were to each other. Such is the power of this thing we call “social media,” (by the way, I am getting sick of that term – we need to find a better thing to call this). In any case, the webinar went well, I rediscovered a family tie that is closer now because of common interests, and proved that the web really has the power to do more than just collect chatter.