Attending Oprah’s Life Class in Chicago as a live tweeter was a pretty remarkable experience with lots of lessons. There were many experiences that made up the whole experience so I warn you now this will be a long blog post. (Actually I’ll split it in two)
Once Oprah retired from her own show, any illusions (or delusions) of one day being on the Oprah show pretty much vanished for so many of her followers. That made her decision to return to the front of the camera for Oprah’s Life Class even more invigorating for her followers. A dream was reborn. There were audience members who had waited 25 years to attend the Oprah Show. This new show finally gave them their chance to be in the studio. Meeting these excited folks was definitely a highlight for me.
My friend Melissa Lierman, a.k.a. @TimeOutMom on Twitter was my link to this experience. She was invited twice as her online following and quick typing skills can create well over 1 Million impressions for a twitter party. For Oprah’s Life Class a week earlier, she achieved 1.2 Million impressions and aside from Oprah’s official twitter profiles, Melissa was a top influencer on her first trip. Unfortunately we don’t have numbers for the show I was at, but it’s no surprise Melissa was invited back to the show with a plus two.
While I don’t have nearly the following that Melissa does on Twitter, I do have the good fortune of writing a blog for LFPress which means my blog feeds into www.canoe.ca – Canada’s national news source. My LFPress editor was kind enough to feed my twitter stream into my blog for that night, which would have given even more exposure to the show.
When I started sharing the excitement that I was going, I must admit, people were confused. They didn’t realize Oprah had a new show. So here’s the skinny on what’s been happening:
The first few weeks of Oprah’s Life Class was shared online at www.Oprah.com and reruns aired on Oprah Winfrey’s Network OWN. The last few Friday nights, the show aired LIVE on OWN and www.Oprah.com as the female icon shares 25 life lessons learned over 25 years on television. This coming Friday, November 11 will mark the end of Oprah’s Life Class and she will launch another similar series in January moving across the United States. (Hey, do you think they would make a Canadian stop in London, Ontario?)
The Road Trip:
Seriously, if Melissa and I had started flip cam’ing when we left on our journey, we would have had a bloppers reel that would put Oprah and Gayle’s road trip to shame. It was hilarious. Right down to the drug sniffing dog that busted the car of four guys next to us at the border. Watching their body language shift as they realized what was happening was a life lesson all on its own.
For the record, it is NOT as fast to drive to Chicago as it is to fly there! We figured by the time we got to the airport, waited in line and flew, we’d already be there if we drove. Thankfully, the Sheraton Chicago welcomed us in the wee hours on Thursday morning with a friendly smile. We had arrived at last.
It became evident that not only was I entirely dependent on my various devices, but the universe has an uncanny sense of humour. Here it was, crunch time, I was on my way to live tweet at Harpo Studios and the technology that connected me to the world at large was on the fritz.
The day we left for Chicago, my computer started acting up. No big deal I figured, I’d call my brother’s IT guy and get it sorted when I arrived. Apparently, when I upgraded from XP Professional to Windows 7 a month or so earlier, I hadn’t yet deleted the partition with the old operating system and file copies. While it had worked just fine, the last video I added onto my hard drive the day before had pushed my HP’s hard drive over the top.
Oh, I can hear you MAC folks saying, make the switch and you wouldn’t have those kinds of problems. Ah, not a chance. I am a PC loyalist through and through. This HP laptop has been with me since spring of 2008. I wrote my book on it. It’s traveled everywhere with me. I’m attached. I love it. I just should have finished step number 7 of the instructions when upgrading to Windows 7, which I absolutely love as my new operating system.
So what’s a girl to do? Get a new computer apparently!
Microsoft has launched new Microsoft Stores in the US. They are like a technological playground for the PC user and thankfully there is a Microsoft Store in Chicago. I wouldn’t have even known about the stores if it weren’t for Twitter and #Win7Tech chats on Tuesday afternoons.
Melissa’s computer also had hit overload (she’s a power-power user) and so instead of spending the afternoon getting primped and prettified, we spent it meeting Joseph at the Chicago Microsoft Store and rejigging our technology needs for Friday night.
This meant there were 3 women rushing to get ready in one hotel room. Every electrical outlet was attached to something: three computers charging, three blackberries and two hair dryers. You guessed it, we blew a fuse. No biggie, the staff acted quickly and got us back on track in no time, but the surge sent my blackberry into shocksville and I was all of a sudden out of touch.
During the cab ride over to Harpo Studios, I realized how addicted to technology I really am. 90% of my live tweeting is done from my blackberry, so looking at a black screen was sending me into a stressful tailspin. I just couldn’t figure out how I would manage – thankfully, an hour later, Melissa the technology-wonder leans over and suggests pulling the battery. Finally I was back and ready to do my job with confidence.
If you saw our tweets and picture feeds you would think we were obsessed with our laptops as they are everywhere with us! The reality is we were obsessed. I actually don’t think I would have been able to function at all without securing that laptop from the Microsoft Store. Just goes to show how important it is to prepare for contingencies.
So here we were, three of us, ready with our technology to do our online role to promote and share Oprah’s wisdom from the show, whipped together in a hurried frenzy and at Harpo Studio where the next set of lessons are about to begin. More on those in the next post.