Thursday, December 29, 2016

10 Ways to Livestream your Business

Teenagers seem to have a new dance these days: running around, phones held high, squealing and gesturing into the air, completely oblivious to anyone over 25... and friends, it’s not The Twist they’re doing, it’s livestreaming. And as usual, they can teach us a lot because the biggest trend for 2016 in business was exactly that! Hang onto your hats, Gen X, it’s a thing, and I can help you learn how to use it for your business.

My friend Sunny and I broadcasting live from an event

First, you’ll need to master the technical details, which can be found on my previous blog post. If there is anything I didn’t cover in sufficient depth, as my 12-year-old says, “Google It!” To get used to the practice, play around with live broadcasts on different platforms (you can always delete them later!) and once you have the hang of it, then comes the real work. What are you going to broadcast? Short of answering “everything”, let me share some ideas:

Tour of your office / studio: One of the first Instagram lives I watched was an artist standing in the middle of his studio with his dog, drinking a beer. He was speaking into the camera at intervals, but mostly panning around to his workspace, the materials he had out, his beer, his dog… OK the dog was getting the most “likes” but it was a fascinating few minutes where I and a handful of others got to hear someone speak who’s work we had previously followed online, and seeing the stacks of raw materials and the tools he used made me look at his work with even more interest. It was as good as being given a tour in person. Well, that minus the beer and getting to pet the dog.

Show yourself or staff sampling food at your restaurant: No the viewers still won’t be able to taste it, but the visuals can be so much fun for this kind of thing! The possibility for candid humor abounds here as well, especially if you are particularly expressive of face. Not that I saved it for the archives, but the very first live I did was on FaceBook as I sat at Starbucks sampling one of their new coffee drinks. Friends who watched it said they cracked up over the face I made when I tasted how over-sugared the drink was, so this kind of thing can be used to humanize posts.

Demonstrate a how to: The world of the instructional video is something that pains many of us who had corporate jobs in the 80s and 90s, so we should be thrilled that it has loosened up and morphed into the more casual realm of livestreaming. The best part is that many of the venues allow you to save the MP4 files so you can later edit or publish on your website or YouTube as you see fit. Not to be confused with internal training, which should still remain internal, but many of your customers would love to see how it is that you do what you do. Candy making, carpentry, hair cutting, you name it. Show it going on live, and you’ve connected on a deeper level with your audience / clients. Re-posting clips of actual genius elsewhere can boost your SEO and help demonstrate your expertise in the field.

Interview Staff: why not do an impromptu Q&A in the office? Let your viewers get to know you and your team beyond what you carefully edit and post. The nature of livestreaming lends itself to un-rehearsed chat, so keep it informal and short. I would plan to ask people something about their area of strength or have them recount a story they love to tell. People love to talk, and it helps us connect with one another.

Day-in-the-life: Follow someone on their daily rounds of work, or film yourself if it isn’t dangerous. This behind-the-scenes, cinema verite technique can be effective to show a process (similar to a demo video) or a routine, such as feeding animals in a shelter, delivering newspapers or anything else that lends itself to a ride-along mindset.

Special event: this is perhaps the biggest use of livestreaming, and it’s a perfect fit. Whether you are broadcasting to those who couldn’t attend, or trying to build cachet by showing something not open to the public, the special event broadcast meshes well with social media’s aspirational feel. I will admit to watching lives filmed at award shows and fancy dinners which I would never be able to attend in reality.

Document changes: Are you having furniture delivered? Cutting your hair? Demo-ing an old office building? All of these moments can now be shared live and as they happen!

Work-in-progress: One of my favorite things to see on Instagram is when an artist shows images of the same work at different points in its creating. The work-in-progress broadcast takes this to another level and can be used to show process as well as steps. You could do a panorama of all current projects in your workshop, for example, or do a quick kitchen view while food prep is going on, for example, and then follow it up with a still photo post afterwards. For example, film a short live video of gift bags being assembled at an event, and then post a photo of the finished product on your event page.

Announcement: Livestreaming is the new press release! You can film yourself or staff making a business announcement or reading from a press release. The way to make this dynamic is to post in advance, stating the time that the live will be broadcast and reminding your fans to tune in to see it. Who rules this type of hype? Apple.

Q&A: finally, a live broadcast can be used to take questions from customers. You can set it up in advance so that people tweet their questions with a # that you will be following, and you can read them and answer them live, or you can also take the questions on the spot. Just be sure to read the questions aloud so that your viewers know what you are talking about!

Livestream anything - even listening to music in your car!

As I said above, I really think you can livestream just about anything, and if you have other ideas, please share in the comments. Remember the purpose of the broadcast, and tailor your language and behavior to the occasion, but have fun with it. Of course you still want to ask yourself each time if it is in line with your marketing plan and your mission statement and if you answer yes, press that button!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Carried Away with Livestreaming!

Though I've been calling 2016 the Year the Music Died (still mourning the loss of David Bowie and so many others), for digital marketing purposes, it is the year of Livestream - see this completely biased yet interesting and data-filled post from to learn about global use of live streaming. It is a thing and not going away any time soon. Are you doing it?

We've come a long way since 2010, when live baby owls broke the Internet with a U-Stream of their owl box in Southern California which was watched by 20,000 people and generated 20 million pageviews - did you get caught up in that? I sure did, I can remember watching it with my (then) 6-year-old daughter and shouting "live baby owl cam" over and over!

The Royals and their Owl Box: breaking the Internet before Kim K!

The baby owl cam, and the many other wildlife streams that copied it, were first generation and required detailed infrastructure like still-mounted cameras, cables, cords and formal web hosting to reach viewers around the world. The model was built on live streams offered from courtrooms and other business applications, running 24/7 regardless of viewers or content. In the 6 years since, we've striped away the barriers to entry so that anyone with a smart phone and a social media account can now broadcast live. Niche platforms like Periscope, Swarm and others offered livestreaming early on, but it was not until the megalith that is Facebook offered it (in August 2015) that it took off on a peer-to-peer level. 

Livestream is now THE thing, and it isn't just for teens chatting to friends. Businesses at all levels are using it, from an artist live streaming new work in progress, to Fortune 500 companies livestreaming behind-the-scenes segments during business events and everything in between. It is ON. 


I've been using Facebook live, and really enjoying it. Some of my broadcasts have a business focus (in fact, I appeared on a panel discussing eCommerce, which was broadcast in it's entirely on Facebook live) while others are just random silliness, like OH Wow, I have to share what I'm listening to on the radio Right Now! I even did a livestream to talk about doing livestreams: 

covershot; actual vid below :)

The thing I like best about livestreaming is the comments feature: your audience can comment on your stream as it happens. I use this often to ask questions (who uses FB live? how many sleeping puppies are in this pile?) and of course the ability to click "like" on the video as it plays, so that the broadcaster can see which element is the most popular. 


Despite the fact that I love (and teach!) Instagram, I think the live feature is weaker than Facebook's. Note, Facebook owns Instagram now, so many of the same features are available, with the major exception being that Instagram Live broadcasts are not saved and cannot be replayed. Since Instagram live was just debuted in November, we can be sure to expect plenty of changes as the service becomes more popular. Though I have plenty of followers on Instagram, my broadcasts get few viewers and I am playing around with timing. Key also is announcing that the broadcast will be done. During the 2016 Election, I made the following announcement and then followed up with a later post giving the time ("Going live at 7pm with my dramatic reading, tune in!").

Announce the upcoming livestream to gain watchers

I could just as easily have made this announcement on Instagram and done the reading on that platform (had it been available then,) but Facebook saved the video so that friends who could not join in the moment were still able to watch later. 

As mentioned, Instagram is just starting the whole live thing so I'm sure it will change as soon as next week, but for now, if someone you follow is currently live (when you open the app), you will see a purple "live" tag in their round circle which otherwise indicates they have posted an Instagram Story (these are short vids and images that only last for 24 hours on the platform in addition to the original photo grid / feed.)

From my home screen, I can see that @ivy_unicorn is live

Then I can go to my story screen and start my own live broadcast, and here is what I would see before anyone started watching me:

(filmed during the recent San Francisco RAINPOCALYPSE...)

I've noticed that the popular videos on Instagram so far are - SHOCKINGLY - livestreams of pet accounts. Yes, I have watched, and "hearted" repeatedly streams of people's cats playing. I mean, of course I just use this for business research purposes ;)


I have to admit that I have not yet used Twitter live (a whole new meaning to "live tweeting" eh?) but I got this email announcement yesterday that it is available now, so stay tuned because I will try it too.

I wonder how soon till Donald Trump starts livestreaming? Did I mention that 2016 was the End of Times....

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @carriedawaysf and share your livestream experiences in the comments!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Idol Interview: Gary Hutton

You know how some people just fascinate you, and you feel constantly lucky to know them, let alone work with them? I can say that about Gary Hutton, from the moment I met him in 2002 volunteering on Dining by Design. I already knew his work, but meeting the man in person made it all come alive to me. 

Gary Hutton is a master of his craft (interior and furniture design) and a master of irreverence, deadpan humor and creativity. He will literally throw the most unusual things into projects and they suddenly become completely normal and functional. Oh, is that a wall covered in exposed brush bristles for sound insulation? Of course it is! You just never know what to expect from him, and that includes his wardrobe (he favors tailored menswear with a twist, such as tweed jackets that button up on the diagonal, or an oxford shirt that sneaks in a leopard print collar). Speaking of wardrobe, just get a load of Gary’s mom in the late 60s - no words, right? This grand lady and I share a birthday, and that’s only ONE thing I love about this image:

Stop it. This is Gary's mom.

You also never know what you might find in Gary’s office, from prototypes for custom furniture, to a collection of Barbie dolls to a snow globe emblazoned with the word “F*ck” to these stunning 70s platform shoes which belonged to one of his dear friends:

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Gary to ask him a few questions:

CS: Which came first for you, art or interior design? 
GH: Well, it depends on when one starts counting!  I was decorating and redecorating my room from the time I was 5.  Art studies came in college and when I couldn’t get a job as a sculptor I went back to school for Interior Design.

Gary, early 90s

CS: Have you done any other jobs prior to starting in design? 
GH: When I graduated from Design school there was a very bad recession so I worked in a number of Showrooms prior to getting my first real job as a designer.

Gary's famed installation for Dining by Design 2002

I was blown away by Gary's mix of High and Low plus his commentary on American Society...

CS: How did you come up with the concept for the stack of TVs at Dining by Design 2002? I have a massive fascination with this project because it reminds me of a home in Berkeley, CA where I grew up that had an installation of many TVs on its porch. They were always playing cartoons and Nixon speeches and footage of Vietnam, 24 hours a day, and everyone knew what you meant if you said the TV house. It was the coolest house till it was dismantled in the late 80s, so seeing this project was like seeing a favorite friend from childhood again!

GH: Gee that is going back a long way!  I had just designed a very fancy TV tray/table for my furniture line and I wanted to use it for Dining by Design, and somehow the idea of a tree of televisions just made sense.  I wish I could claim some high minded riff on Nam June Paik but that wasn’t the reality.

CS: I know everyone goes bananas when you post on social media that you are cooking lunch at your studio. What is your favorite thing to cook for entertaining? 
GH: My favorite thing to cook when entertaining is something that can be prepared primarily ahead of time so I only need to do some final frizzing when guests have arrived. (Smart, Gary! Speaking as a former professional organizer and home chef, that's the way to do it!)

Here is Gary in action in the kitchen of his stunning SoMa studio:

CS: Is your house tidy or messy? (Or, are you Felix Unger or Oscar Maddison)
GH: My apartment is a combo.  I have tried very hard to be organized with the new re-do of the apartment and I’m doing a pretty good job except for my desk in the den.  Try as I may, I just can’t seem to escape a messy pile somewhere!

Gary loves books and one of the things I love on his Instagram account @garyhuttondesign are his book recommendation posts, like this utterly hysterical take on a children’s book called “We Go to the Gallery” (a Dung Beetle book) which will have you screaming with laughter. I personally was compelled to read the entire thing aloud in my best Joanna Lumley / posh voice. Magnificent.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I took my kid to a Bernie Sanders Rally

On Memorial Day, I took my kid to a Bernie Sanders rally. Below is what started as a letter to a former UC Berkeley professor who asked what it was like: 

a visual recap of the day

You asked what it was like? The whole event, from lining up for hours outside, to wandering around inside, to talking to many, many people really reminded me of what makes this country so great. 

Though I am somewhat involved in SF politics, it is very tidy and targeted and organized - so this chaos was kind of wonderful! There were protesters on every topic, people of all ages passing around OLD FASHIONED PRINTED PAMPHLETS, there were tons of families, people in BUSINESS SUITS right next to hippies and every possible skin color and at times, we were all cheering together! BUT the beauty was, at times, we were NOT cheering together, and that is something that is sometimes missing.

There were old people, kids, pregnant women, students and career groups, such as a huge contingent of nurses. There were people with genuine causes as well as people who seemed to be protesting randomly as an art form, and it ALL had a place. I LOVED the variety of opinions and I loved that it is OK to have them. 

Yeah man, tell it!

We were there for HOURS before Bernie even spoke, and that gave us a real sense of community. We ran into MANY friends and at times were involved in group discussions, and at other times Ivy needed shade so we went off on our own and sat in the shade away from the masses and made up Political Mad Libs, but the whole while, we were still part of it all.

ALWAYS carry a notepad!

We also really enjoyed the music: they had several performers entertaining before the speech, and they did some covers, some funny political versions of popular songs, and closed with We Shall Overcome and I swear, I have chills again now just remembering. I sang along, as did much of the audience, but I think lots of the younger crowd didn't know the song or the history. I had to be brief but I told Ivy "this is the mother of all protest songs going back decades and if you listen you will hear optimism despite suffering" and I think it is 100% still relevant today.

Anyhow, at about 4:45pm (we got there at noon) we started to hear rumors that Bernie's car had been spotted arriving, so we tried to get in a place to see, but the park is actually above the level of the Oakland City Hall steps, so even though there was a small podium, it was not high enough for most of the 10-20,000 of us crammed onto the grass to see anything. (The "venue" was several blocks surrounding the park in front of City Hall, Frank Ogawa Plaza, that was blocked off for safety and they let in 20,000 and there was plenty of space - then we saw people lined up against all the fences, so many more wanted to attend. People climbed lamp-posts and trees and sat on shoulders, but I heard a little girl on top of her dad's shoulders say "Daddy, you're the tallest one here and even on your back I can't see anything!" 

Can't see. Still glad to be here. 

So once again, it was the energy and the community that moved us. However, when Bernie was announced, after some gracious and inspiring words from past Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport and actor Danny Glover (they were both great! And DID discuss the fact that Bernie is an old white guy who is relevant to people of color - calling Bernie "the man" and by that, meaning a compliment, not as in THE MAN!) people went WILD!!!

I hear that animal rights protesters disrupted the speech - we were listening, and had no idea what the long pause was. I read later that some protesters rushed the stage but nobody was hurt. Nobody seemed upset. It was just part of it. 

The whole thing was pretty amazing. I know that in a short campaign speech, he can't lay out concrete plans for things, but his vision points really resonated with the crowd: raise the minimum wage, de-militarize the police, de-classify marijuana as a class 1 drug, respect for Native Americans, etc. I have friends who debate that he does not have the experience to make any of his plans work and that might be true, I grant that. But I am just thrilled that someone who is NOT part of the system and not working with a super pac and not backed by Wall Street could get this far (he spoke of a "rigged economy" which resonated with Oakland for SURE!)

In person, I think people really like someone who is not utterly polished - he said his suit cost $99, his hair is a mess, he gets horse, he has an accent, but seems genuine (saying $11 bucks an hour - just felt like someone you could be chatting with as opposed to a scripted "talking point".) and he relates very well to the "99%". I am one who believes that the political system is corrupt, so he speaks to me. In practice, Ms. Clinton might be the one who can actually make the system work, but what if we can change the system? It felt wonderful to know there is hope and Bernie is funny, smart and likeable. In all, I am just thrilled to have attended. I was also deeply proud that my 11-year-old daughter wanted to attend, and was interested and cares. If Bernie only inspires the next generation to be active and work to fight big business and Wall Street and all that it owns and represents, than he HAS won!

I was delighted to hear back from my professor that he enjoyed my letter, and this: 

As Adlai Stevenson, democratic candidate for President before your time, once remarked to a fan who had assured him that all thinking people supported him against Eisenhower:  "That won't be enough; I need  a majority!"


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mine goes to 11 - Carrie's 11 fave Instagram Accounts

Who loves Instagram? Besides me and 400 million people worldwide, perhaps you? Here are just a few of my favorite accounts, and the list grows daily. Follow me @carriedawaysf and have a look at:

If your first reaction to the word selfie is a huge eyeroll, just wait a second, because THIS GUY will show you how it’s done. I don’t know him, but he is the reason I love the Internet. What a concept: “Movie locations. Sunglasses. No smiles.” Not only is this a perfect Instagram bio (and I teach Instagram for business, so believe me, I have examined thousands), but it is deadpan hilarious, just as his facial expressions suggest of his own personality. Mr. Parker is true to his word, tagging each of his movie location-shade-selfies with the movie title and year. But wait – the best part of all is that every so often he slips, and doesn’t have his sunglasses, or has a friend in the photo with him, or cracks the very start of a smile… and BOOM, his followers nail him on it, so don’t miss the comments section. #selfiemaster


Oh cats. Oh Instagram. Oh look, cats on Instagram! It’s just so… expected. And @catsofinstagram has like 20 billion followers so they don’t even have to be creative because, face it, we all love cute kitties. But wouldn’t we love it better if it were creative, the way we used to love the blog the first 20 thousand times, 10 years ago? Yes, and indeed we love @catsonamps coming to us out of New York and featuring… you guessed it, cats ON amps! Yep, that’s it. Cats. Amps. Every now and then a guitar or record player, but basically amps, because cats will lay themselves on top of your stuff, and if you are a musician, your cat will get on your amp! You know why this is better than just another cute pet site? Because it is cute AND funny – double whammy. Thank you to my dear music and cat lover @flyingmodette for turning me on to this brilliance. #friendsknowwhatyoulike


Travel Guides @bruceaivie @davidebowers

Do you love to travel? Do you love to eat? OK, if you didn’t raise your hand I’m just sorry for you and it’s over between us. Bruce and David are two charming caterers who are also world travelers and tour guides, specializing in the region of Turkey and Western Asia. If you can’t afford to join them on one of their expeditions, you can at least take an armchair voyage via their stunning Instagram feeds. In addition to being handy with cameras, these gentlemen are true scholars – they learn the language, customs, history and geography as well as the food of places where they travel, and you will learn right along with them as you follow. #stopdrooling

@bruceaivie @davidebowers

When you collect vintage clothes and search online, you soon realize that everyone and their sister is selling vintage on Instagram, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. What sets  @popshop60sand70s apart is that the charming gals who run the site are not only vintage curators, but stylists as well, so attention is paid to showing off the clothes for sale as well as to the art of the photo itself. Most images are shot in San Francisco, which suits their Summer of Love time-frame, and they mix it up by featuring a variety of models and they use period-accurate accessories too. This account is a perfect example of more than selling, because they offer a visual story behind each item. Also, these gals are just plain fun – some of my favorite retail pop ups have been done with them and their ever-growing collection of designer and one-of-a-kind 60s and 70s vintage. #groovy


Something I learned from having a tween daughter is that the Internet is the new Older Sister in terms of learning about makeup, fashion and even nail polish. There are instructional videos everywhere you look on how to fix your hair or rip your jeans perfectly or tie a bow tie. And then accounts just about manicures - not only are there accounts to show how to create fancy nail “looks”, there are accounts that showcase the owner’s nails, often alongside the bottle of polish featured. Yes, this is a thing. Randomly, thanks to Instagram’s “search” feature, Leina and I found each-other and we are now “friends” through the magic of smart phones. Here is what I know about her: she lives in my town, frequents many of my favorite places, and she paints her gorgeous nails a different color almost every day. Oh, and she should have been a hand model. I am eager to see what new manicure she will come up with, and she has even inspired me to pay more attention to my own nails, now that I view them as a canvas for art. #learnsomethingnew


Party Carpet @carpet.diem

Some years ago I learned that people like to take pics of their shoes on the nutty 80s carpet at Portland Airport (PDX) and if you search #PDXcarpet there are nearly 80,000 of said photos. Plus, you can find T shirts, socks and coffee mugs with the design for sale (for true superfans). When the carpet was replaced in 2013, the original product went to artists and has become a social phenomenon of cheeky proportions, but the trend didn’t die, and people still take shoe-selfies with the new carpet. Portland International Airport was not alone in installing unique, bright or even boisterous carpet – all you have to do is look to Las Vegas or actually any casino to find yards of what has come to be known as “Party Carpet”. This account shares – neigh, revels in – the wondrous varieties to be found and “shoe-selfied”. Oh and the name… #dielaughing


I know, I know, people who won’t let you eat at a restaurant before they Instagram their meal need to be shot, right? (Ummmm… in that case, I am already LONG dead!) I actually enjoy seeing images of people’s food because it gives me ideas for new things to try or new restaurants to visit, but the funny thing is that sometimes, the food looks… bad! You know, messy scrambled eggs with no garnish on a plate you’re not sure is actually clean… WHAT IS THAT? (unfollow). This account, however, features nothing but salads (no gross dripping sauce you can’t identify) and every photo is absolutely beautiful! To be honest, this account reminds me to eat more fresh things AND to style up my dishes before I Instagram them. #eattherainbow


Supergraphics @circa78designs

Since abandoning Pinterest, I’ve missed my feed of highly curated scans of 60s and 70s design magazines – that is, till I found this account! Carrying the torch high in a very specialized way, this account showcases my favorite trend from the middle of the last century: SUPERGRAPHICS (yes, it has to be said in caps.) To be fair, there are images of things that harmonize with supergraphics (vintage dish sets, happy people lounging on bean bags) as well as crisp scans of vintage photos of interiors featuring wonderful rainbows, stripes, arrows and whatnot painted boldly across walls of the past. But mostly, as the bio says, “I have a thing for stripes” and good lord, so do I! Believe me, if I could step right into these photos and never come out, I would. #armchairtimetravel


For a kid who couldn’t relate to poetry until well (well) into adulthood, it amazes me how much I love it now. Is it because poetry captures feelings in a short burst of time and that’s all I can give? Hmmm… Anyway, I was delighted to discover that lots of poets share their work on Instagram. Oh, you thought it was just for pictures? SO DID I! But no! I follow a few writers and poets, and perhaps the best thing is watching them begin posting to a few followers, seeing their accounts blow up, to reading posts about book deals! THIS is the new fame / celebrity I can work with, because it celebrates actual talent, kinda like in the old days. My current fave is a young woman in New York, Alison Malee. I randomly picked a square (Russian roulette style) and found this: “The kind of love we praise should be quiet, should be constant, should whisper to you over coffee, ‘ you are strong. you are kind. you can conquer today. you can conquer anything.’ #whatshesaid


Social media is social, right? I have run into whole online communities dedicated to one thing or another (slammed VWs, re-enactors, retro beauty queens for example) but did you know there are people who roam the country photographing vintage signs? See, before the Internet, I thought I was the only one who did that. OHMYGODSTOPTHECARWHEREISMYCAMERA???? People, I am not alone. Nor am I the best photographer, so I now enjoy following others who snap, edit and post pics of vintage signs in all their glory. (Or decay, however they happen to find them, actually, and the results are always pleasing.) These sign hunters, sign geeks and sign junkees used to post on Flickr, but since I lost access to my account several years ago (argh, don’t ask) I am delighted to re-discover them, and more like them, on Instagram. Josh posts under the punny handle “sign of the time” and you know I love his photos because he often gets a vintage car into his shots. I also love his framing and careful edits of clouds and lack of modern (Jarring! Evil) elements, plus I love occasionally seeing signs from my own favorite places. Shot by a pro, rather than by someone waving an iPhone out their window, while simultaneously trying to drive a stick and suck down a Starbucks….(Who would DO that???)  #signsigneverywhereasign   


SF Street Art @arminizer

What do you do when you’re at 10 but you need… JUST A LITTLE MORE? My online friend, Armin (whom I do not know), showed me un-knowingly and single-handedly how to take my posts to the next level (exactly… to 11). Here is a dude who is posting precisely what I would post if I were a) a better photographer b) capable of restraining myself from posting selfies and yet another photo of my dinner and c) a dude. How funny is that – I don’t know anything about him, but we both post about San Francisco, street art, shoe selfies (he seems to have an endless collection of Converse, which he will show when his posts feature literal street art), architecture and general urban scenes. Not only is his work gallery-worthy, but he is a master of focus – his images are crisp AND his account is consistent. As I have mentioned, I teach Instagram, and I have used his account as an example of not only beautiful visual work, but of thoughtful editing (get it). #takeitupanotch


Thanks to all my new "friends" on Instagram for letting me share their accounts! 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

San Francisco's Mission Street and the Red Carpet Fiasco

My "personal vehicle" OJ on my beloved Mission Street, SF

In February of 2016, changes were made to San Francisco's Mission Street under the name of the "Red Carpet Program" designed to reduce traffic on Mission Street and speed up the commute for bus riders. The following is my opinion only, and I will share a letter I sent to Supervisor David Campos as well as several members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. I was actually thrilled with the kind reply I received, here copied beneath my letter. Note: this is my opinion only, and I have tried to state my reasons and my position clearly in the letter.

Some news coverage may be found here: The Examiner announces the work, and Mission Local later discusses some of the feedback.

Forced new Right turn off Mission onto Cesar Chavez

Red Carpet paint on Mission Street, SF

Dear Supervisor Campos, 

I cried when I saw the forced right turns off Mission Street.

I love The Mission. I love Mission Street. I love shopping at unique, small, non-corporate stores, eating at independent restaurants, and I love the color and vibrancy of this amazing, unique and artistic street. My friends all joke that if they can’t find me, they should just look on Mission, and my ex-husband made fun of my use of Mission Street to get anywhere as a running joke.

I am also a “personal vehicle” driver and a social media power user, and have been ranting about this online since the start. I was given your email and told that you are responsible for this. (NOTE: letter was originally sent to Sean Kennedy of SFMTA then later fwd to David Campos - cs)

I used to rent at Dolores and 28th but my rent was raised and I moved to Viz Valley, where I need to commute by car to the Mission for my daughter’s school, and to my work. Mission Street made my daily “commute” from the outer mission to Everett Middle school an interesting and colorful journey that filled me with joy every day. I intentionally avoid the blandness and crush of the freeway by driving on Mission. Being able to drive on my beloved Mission Street allowed me to still love SF, though I can barely still afford to live here.  If we could all afford to live inner SF and not have cars this would be great, but that’s never going to happen with our real estate market. Even if the minimum wage goes up to $15, what a joke to think that someone earning $15 an hour could afford to rent or even buy even the smallest apartment in San Francisco!

I wish the utopian “transit only” concept would work, but ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL! I am a mom who carpools kids, so a bike is not an option. I actually do sometimes ride the bus, and I don’t think we should have to compete for use of streets with busses.

Can you explain why my tax money was used to paint the street (hideous! Now it looks like a video game! Will Mission Street ever be used for movie filming again? Not with that eyesore paint!), to erect plastic lane-markers (which are already being broken by incensed drivers who crash through them to keep going along Mission Street) and to pay the salaries of the traffic officers who have been stationed at the forced right turns? And how are those poor folks doing with all the verbal abuse I have heard hurled at them by drivers?

Do you want to force all the struggling businesses on Mission between Cesar Chavez and 16th out of business? I used to make stops at these places on my way to or from taking my kid to school. Now I will not see those places and forget about them and just go to Target instead, where I can park. This is the spiral that eventually forces small businesses to close and brings in more malls in out-lying areas, where we need cars for access. Unwittingly, your transit-only focus will contribute to the death of the inner city for all but the young and well-paid and just encourage urban sprawl.

Please reverse the forced right turns and let cars drive on Mission Street, and please allow Left turns onto Cesar Chavez from Mission to that drivers can access the freeway, which is where you want cars anyway, correct? 2 min per bus ride is not enough of a savings to justify this ugly mess that looks bad, will close businesses, and is downright un-friendly. 


Carrie Swing

ex-Mission resident

Lover of Mission Street


Hi Carrie,

Thank you for sharing these comments. While Supervisor Campos is supportive of improving public transportation for the 65,000 riders that use Mission Street, he is extremely concerned about the unintended impacts of the Red Carpet program, including the safety and small business concerns you mention.  He has called on the SFMTA to make adjustments to the program to address the negative impacts.

I am forwarding your message to Matt Brill, who is managing the program so that he is aware and can be responsive to your concerns.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sheila Chung Hagen
Legislative Aide
Office of Supervisor David Campos

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mine goes to 11: Romantic Things I Can't Forget

Forget the clich├ęs of roses and lingerie, what is truly romantic? These things stick with me because they are unusual, show that time and research was employed or go beyond the typical. Big gesture or small, romance is showing that you are thinking of the other person rather than yourself. Here is my list:

  • “I’d throw myself on a grenade for you” (most romantic thing a man has ever said to me.)
  • Reading poetry aloud to you while you bathe. Bonus points: in a foreign language.
  • Ordering a sandwich without mayo, to share, even though he would have had it on his.
  • Knowing how you take your coffee and ordering for you.
  • Sending you a TV streaming device when you are on bed rest.
  • Taking you to a concert and buying you a soda pop, because you are 13, on your first date.
  • Working out together. Bonus points: not making fun of you in your workout gear.
  • Introducing you with pride to his friends.
  • Texting you when your song comes on. 30 years later!
  • Recommending a good book based on shared interests.
  • Drawing your picture on his skateboard with Sharpie. 

What's on your list, or what can you do for your Valentine this year that they will put on theirs? 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Guest Blogger Ivy on World Religions

This week I have a guest blogger, and I'm very proud to introduce my daughter Ivy, with a perspective she wrote for her 6th grade class at Everett Middle School in San Francisco, CA. 

Guest Blogger Ivy, age 11, San Francisco

Why are people killing others because of what they believe in? People all over the world are being targeted because of their religions. Innocent people are being discriminated against because they believe in a different god than someone else. 

Thousands of people were killed in 2015 because of their religion. When I learned this I was shocked! I thought that in the 21st Century, we would have learned to accept each-other for who we are and not what we believe in.

We must stop this hate and violence. A way to do this would be to bring world religion education into schools around the world. This would promote the idea that even if someone has different beliefs from you, they aren’t bad. If children could learn these things we could grow up to be peaceful citizens and make the world a better place. 

By Ivy Dubiner
Feb 2016
Age 11
Grade 6
Everett Middle School, San Francisco, CA