Like Sugar on a Sidewalk

I’m still in the process of digesting Jordan Dane’s excellent tutorial on using Twitter as a publicity tool and raising one’s profile. I recently witnessed the end result of how all of this — Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, oh my — works, and it was a sight to behold, believe me.
My daughter is a huge fan of the British boy band One Direction. If you are older than fifteen, you may not have heard of them, but the band is huge: they sold out their 2012 tour in around an hour, and they weren’t playing coffeehouses venues, nor were the ticket prices of the “one dollar and a can of food” variety, either. 1D, as they are affectionately known to their fans, skipped Columbus, Ohio this year (they’ll visit during their 2013 tour, which, btw, is also sold out) so we obtained tickets to the Charlotte, NC performance and tacked it on to the back end of a family vacation. The Family Hartlaub stayed at a Hyatt next to the venue, so that daughter and mom could easily walk to the concert without the assistance of their slovenly father and husband. I also thought that there was a chance that the band might obtain lodging at the same hotel; alas, such was not to be. But, but.
On the afternoon before the evening’s performance someone posted a photo at Tumblr and Twitter purporting to show one of the 1D lads in the lobby of a Charlotte hotel with yellow walls. I started googling and was able to narrow the locale down to four hotels in the immediate area, including the Charlotte Omni, just up the street. We headed out about 3:00 PM and started walking up the street when two jet black buses pulled up in front of the Omni. My daughter yelled, “IT’S THEIR TOUR BUS!” and went running up the street, tweeting madly as she ran. In seconds, and I mean seconds, what had been a quiet and relatively deserted intersection in uptown Charlotte became a mob scene of screaming teenage girls. It was as if someone had dropped sugar on a sidewalk in the summer: every ant in the vicinity immediately gets the message. I know, I know, John Gilstrap gets that reaction everywhere he goes, but still. It was unreal, and all because my daughter, and no doubt, a few others, sent the word out to all of their sister fans that 1D was in the Omni and would be exiting shortly. They eventually did, and it was tumultuous.
But wait, there’s more. My daughter posted one of the two thousand or so pictures which she took during the 1D concert and posted it to her Tumblr account. Someone blogged about it, and someone else tweeted about it, and by day’s end her picture had five thousand hits. The count has been increasing exponentially since then.
Your results may vary. I would love to see an author (in addition to the aforementioned John Gilstrap) get such a result from their fan base (“Jordan D. just wlked out 2 get hr mail! LOL!”). We don’t live in a world where authors are subjected to that sort of mob adulation for the most part, and more is the pity; but in these days where more and more authors are going it alone, it is certainly an effective way to get the word out about anything.  I’m going to spend the rest of this weekend working my way through Jordan’s directions; if you’re at all interested in using this tweeting tool as a means of self-promotion, you will want to do the same.
A postscript to the trip: in the middle of all of the chaos outside of the Omni my wife found an sD data card on the sidewalk. I loaded it up, hoping for…well, never mind what I was hoping for. What it contained were what appear to be vacation photos of a trip to Mexico and involving two families. The pictures were taken in December 2011; the families look like they might be linked by two sisters; and I would love to get this card back to the rightful owner. I have already posted this on several sites designed for reuniting lost cameras and such with their owners, and thought I would try this as well. If you’re reading this, and you know of someone who has been on vacation six months ago or so and lost their photos of the trip, send them my way @josephhartlaub or josephhartlaubatgmaildotcom.  I might be able to make them happy.

16 thoughts on “Like Sugar on a Sidewalk

  1. Fun story, Joe! I’d never heard of that band, but I Googled it, and up popped a link to your post. So your daughter’s photo-tweeting may bring some traffic to TKZ, lol! Maybe for those readers, you should include your pix of the new British mop tops (egad, I know that dates me!)

  2. Joe– I hope you put 1D in all its forms as keywords on your post. You can also post your daughter’s much viewed photo here too, as an experiment.

    What a good Dad & family are you guys!!! Reminds me of my crazy Beatles, Herman’s Hermits & Monkeys dayz, close encounters that will be burned forever into a young girl’s brain.

  3. Oh & I would bet that YA authors like Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games), Stephenie Meyers (Twilight series), Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments series with movie to come) & JK Rowling (Harry Potter) would draw a texting crowd. I saw the advance crowd (fighting over seats) at a B&N for Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series). He had the whole first floor buzzing with a HUGE crowd that spilled out the door. A precious few authors know rock star status. Makes me proud.

    Thx for the tip on 1D. I’ll check them out.

    #music, #1D, #british, #hotboys

  4. Just added a picture of the crowd scene outside of the Omni…and, uh, Kathryn and Jordan, you may remember the Beatles and Herman’s Hermits, but I’m old enough to remember seeing Bill Haley and Johnny Ray on television. In black and white. When there were only three channels. My days as a “mop top” are long gone. LOL!

  5. BAd choice of a post, Joe. You, “my dear friend”. were in Charlotte with two of my favorite girls in tow, and I never got a tweet, email, or phone call. Gilstrap is in Charlotte, I get a call and we end up roaring in a bar. How soon they forget. I guess I am truly off the map now.

  6. You’re a funny man, Joe.

    Last week, I did a signing in Williamsburg, Virginia–home of my alma mater, William and Mary–and exactly ONE person showed up, a former creative writing professor. It was nice to have a nice 90-minute chat with him at the signing table.

    And yes, the Millers were wonderful hosts when I was in Charlotte. 🙂

    John Gilstrap

  7. John M., I didn’t think you were in the Charlotte/Concord area anymore!!!! Where are you???? And your comments re: JG explain why there was yellow crime scene tape erected throughout the downtown Charlotte area.

    John G., I have in both public and private forums long decried the deterioration of the Literature programs in institutions of higher learning. Your story is yet another Exhibit A.

  8. I should also note that the young lady, second up from the bottom center of the photo with the blondish hair and the sunglasses perched on her head, is my daughter. Thank God she looks like her mother.

  9. Good story Joe. Its always fun to watch kids having fun like that. While I’ve got only boys, I have a dozen virtual daughters via my church. It always amazed me to see the difference between how the two sexes reacted so differently to excitement. I think that some of the high pitches that excited teen girls can scream at are the reason I’ve lost most of that high range of hearing.

  10. Joe,
    I am 17 miles north of Concord. I would never leave the area. Now I expect a special trip to see me and sit on my porches (both covered) and watch my Ruby Throated hummingbirds (10 today), and my Blue Birds (Six in houses we built) and the dogs and not drink. I don’t jog because it makes the ice fly out of my highballs. Aw, hell, do what you want. It even sounds boring to me.

  11. Kathryn, thanks, but I had the easy part. All I had to do was keep hitting the refresh button on the laptop while trying to buy tickets, find a good deal on a hotel room, and get my fam down there and back. My poor wife gets all of the credit. She had to sit through the concert. I bought her earplugs.

    Basil, are you sure that screaming isn’t from the girls’ mothers, and for you, when you walk in the room?

    James, I agree. BTW, everyone, look for the New Edition of James Scott Bell’s Book of Puns, coming soon to the vocal groups section of local CD store.

    John, I’ll call you back as soon as my phone recharges. And no, that doesn’t sound boring at all, as long as Susan’s there, at least.

  12. How freaking cool to be ground zero of a flash mob. That gives you like Internet rock-star-dad status.

    The net has yet to fail to surprise me. A while back, for fun, I started a photo blog called, “Why I Fear Clowns.” In October 2011, I moved it to a photoblog network.

    Within a month, with little or no promo on my part, I am getting 10K hits a month and I see my clown pics being shared and sampled on FB and other blogs.

    I did a Buzzfeed list “The 10 Creepiest Clown Paintings” and it is still getting hits. It is the number one search return on “creepy clown paintings.”

    For six months, I owned the Google search, “decapitated clown cakes.” Yes, I am so proud.

    I’m currently working on my gallery of feral furniture photos, hoping to launch another blog.

    Why are you all looking at me like that?


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