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2007 March

No one was injured in the writing of this post

March 22, 2007

I am here in NYC. Having arrived safely in spite of becoming trapped inside of a subway turnstile.

I realized that I forgot my power cord at home, making my laptop, in effect, a heavy, heavy paperweight. So now I am slightly stressing over how I am going to live blog tomorrow from the conference.

Okay, more than slightly stressing.

The prednisone that I am taking for my allergic reaction is making me feel very scatterbrained.

And, while I love fruit it is getting a little boring to eat for every meal.

Posted by Chris @ 10:01 am | 23 Comments  

BlogHer Business Live Blog: An RFP for the Measurement Industry

March 21, 2007

(this is being live blogged. please excuse all spelling, grammar, and other errors that result from typing too fast.)

An RFP for the Measurement Industry

Where is the blog measurement tool that could measure more than “eyeballs”, more than “authority” via inbound links, and could begin to approach measuring influence and relevance? Jory Des Jardins moderates this discussion between Amy Gahran, Elizabeth Lee and Jenna Woodul as they scope out what is, is not and ought to be available

What is available for measuring social media? How do you measure influence?

Look at the different ways we measure influence and understand that it is relative.

Amy: contentious.com and rightconversation.com conversational consultant and writes several other blogs

Elizabeth senior analyst with Edelman, on cutting edged how companies are measuring today of

Jenna: liveworld

Jory: Story from blogher, try to use traditional metrics and find that many pages can not be tracked. discrepency in the value of blogger imput. page view dead? ot is the traditional way of quantifying

Amy: page view not dead, but not useful in and of themselves

Jory: agencies aren’t doing it right anymore.

Amy: all blogs and page views are not all equal, example the stupid way that technorati does it authority measurement. agencies want to look for easy solutions

Elizabeth: asked who are top bloggers in this vertical as if it something static. looking to equate it to traditional media. page view is a standard metric always be part of a larger piece of evalutaing. now we need to find out the equation…assess thevalue. what clients doing
from that point on. what is the action they are inciting.

Jenna: page views are still used as the general model of how we will pay for things. If you get more than 1% post to page views then you are engaged. It is about the people. How often are they coming back? what are they doing when they get there? whatever technology you use it has to be about that engagement that is keeping people coming back.

Jory: geek question. lots of bloggers with a third party ad servers. found out that bots and spiders that advertisers are not counted. Can you tell us about that?

Jenna: companies would say that they weren’t paying for visitors not people. the value is seeing people coming in from the search engines. what we are discovering is return customers.

audience: how do you respond to your client when they want to know the influential bloggers in their niche area?

E: could be a one time audit. who is talking about this niche topic? and who is listening to them. find the map of people who are sharing information on their topic. the list is part of a much bigger picture of how everyone is related.

A: I deal with organizations to find out their goals and who they need to reach to get those goals. Find discussion forums and see what blogs they recommend. That tells me more with no investments.

Jory: what’s wrong with what is out there? technorati?

A: they don’t do a good job determining relavance. technorati doesn’t filter out spam

E: to get rid of blog spam I use authority as a spam filter

Jory: technorati doesn’t pick up every link

A: Icerocket is better

J: Dive into concept of influence. How do you define?

Jenna: to me it is engagement and what happens when a particular person speaks. the more engaged a community the more loyal they are. they buy 57% more. the active participants spend more money than those that did not go to the community, in a study by ebay. ten times more people who went to the community became ebay sellers. research by harvard business review.

e: Inciting change in thin king or behavior from a source that is relevant. how closely it matched what you want to research. qualifications of the person who writes.

Jory: Jenna you focused on engagement and Elizabeth for you it is relevant. What about you amy?

Amy: but there is something else. rightconversation.com i did afew posts a couple days ago about how organizations are worrying about influencing people out there. I think it is how it influences the organization. When it comes to things that effect economic considerations theya re handled by accounting systems. 1. idea–creativity RD department, 2. insight for disparate view points quality assurance, 3.validation and motivation–everyone likes comments on their blog 4.goodwill– forbearance and forgiveness PR and legal, and then 5. trust which is the foundation of all society that is the sales department

Jory: felicia you work for a traditional publishing company? what are the challenges you faced?

Audience Felicia: I work at harper collins. The resistance was two fold. publishing is very traditional and want to control how they look in public. They kept asking how do we measure. we had the virtual book tour, which had both positive and negative fedback. the feedback was a fear of the company. people don’t see that blogs are a powerful tool as a nytimes review.

jory: walk us thoruhg an audit

elizabeth: we always recommend doing an audit. valuable consumer insight you need a benchmark to measure against even if it is mostly qualitative. when we do an audit we look at the topic and all the subtopics. then we look at the competitors and how much relevant talk is there out there and what are they talking about. this enables you to look at the topics and tie what we are interested in to what they want. can also see who is talking about this. break the topic into geographic, gender, etc so the we can find the target market.

Jory: what about comments?

E: we always couple this data with other things. so yes we do look at comments as a part of a whole and then asses who is the core community participating in the conversation. so then we look at links to see who they are siting and who they are looking to. the last thing we look at is tone and sentiment. we will look at how they use language from an analyst standpoint.

Jory: what are the tools you use in particvular for this?

E: tell our clients to be on boardreader.com free board search engine. find topics in an off topic string, set up an RSS feed, get on technorati. buzzmetrics and brandpulse which is a large scale tool that they use on site. brandpulse is a subscription based web tool that automates things like popular formats and searches. buzzlogic which is specific to blogs. i have seen their definition oif influence change. relevance-keywords match with what search is, occurrence–frequency posting, popularity–inbound links. take the four metrics and tweak it for your objectives. they also do a mapping to see the connections and relationships about that topic.

Jenna: i wanted to mention visible technologies,trueview and truebroadcast, they allow you to reply to people from an interface by bringing all the conversations to you from where they are taking place.

Amy: i deal with news organizations and small businesses. have a decent web analytic tools google analytics is a good free one. I like for webstat analysis omneture. (?) IT has a great interface. It gives you the best reporting on web reporting. Feed reader that allows opml import and export. you want it sitting on your computer not a web based program. Newsfire is good for mac. know how to create a search feed. Comment tracking tools: cocomment.com and co-mments.com. it is very useful for following a conversation.

what tool is there that isn’t as expensive for a smaller business?

buzzlogic claims to cut out that clutter and is very affordable. Any other suggestions?

The best tool is to use your brain and figure out what you want. be specific about your goals and what communities you want to reach and what monitoring you need to do.

Feedburner is how you track your feed. No alternative? If you don’t want to commit to feedburner.

Amy: quantifying listening. prioritize about what you will listen to.

Jory: how do create measurable proof?

Jenna: they all have different reasons to do this. each customer wants something different.

Posted by Chris @ 8:20 am | Comments  

BlogHer Business Live Blog: How to Measure Social Media ROI

How To Measure Social Media ROI

The qualitative and quantitative measures of success. Aligning your definition of success with your strategy. Don’t forget: how you can learn from your commenters and the blogosphere in general. Featuring Daniela Barbosa, Katie Paine and Lena West.

Daniela:solution architect and social media, hoe to use personal blog to enganbe customers

Katie: CEO of Katie Paine, PR measurement, how measure ROI

Lena: CEO zinomedia (?) technology. help business to figure out media 2.0 landscape, not a personal blogger, what your R is in ROI (your currency) what are your tools are to measure that

Get a sense from audience…what are you looking for out of this session, what is the “R” for you? Return of social investment …page views? sales lead? monetary renumiration? other ideas? referrals? unique visitors? subscriptions? Do you realize none of these things have a dollar sign in front of them

typically if you go to a CEO the ROI has to start with a dollar sign, what we are talking about is not things that can start with a dollar sigm..have to be clear as to what that currency is. some returns are not focused on money…things that can not be monetized or measured.

Lena: some of the things are going to be money driven. but in order to become successful i will have to look at intangibles and figure out how to figure out other ways to measure my return of the investemnt

daniella: customers know who I am. tell folks in PR and marketing not to measure metrics on meetings and the buzz, used social media to organize events.

myths to dispel

1. size doesn’t matter, you don’t need 2,000,000 unique vistors

2. don’t need to measure the ROI of you trousers, meaning you put them on everyday no need to measure. No need to measure your ROI of your blog if you aren’t NOT going to do it

3. talk about it as data driven decision making, not ROI

Lena: can’t quantify until you look at the cause and effect, how did i meet this person, what combination of social media did i use to get that win and then do it again, be strategic about how you analzyze what you have done in the past in order to go forward

KAtie: the only way that this will show is over time. try to figure out what is driving what. YOu need to start tracking and collecting your data to put it into the marketing language

Lena: basic measurement and basic digital yardsticks. When you deicde what your R is. Ex I want more speech engagements. try to make a correlation between speaking engagements and something else, for example blog posts. Create something that you can look at and take away what is working. To the extent that you can do that you can measure your social media.

daniella: what i have seen is that a huge increase in my blog outside of the US, my collegues are taking my posts and sending them to their costumers. Now I understand my audience, now i realize i have a larger audience and how to engage with them. Give them multiple ways to communicate.

audience question how to communicate that it doesn’t happen overnight?

Katie: analogy of CFO how soon before a new CFO could turn a company around. How long after you move into a communtiy are you a part of it? These things take time. It isn’t going to happen immediately. It is a conversation. Marketing does not understand that you can not shove messages down people’s throats. REverse the idea of consumersa nd users who are making individual decision makers.

divide time equally to writing their own blogs and responding to the blogs of others.

Lena: if you won’t comment, trackback. make sure you understand the basic anatomy of social media.

Katie: how do you track… it isn’t a simple process for a large company

daniella: there are services that will track your comments that you leave
comments are intersting thing. can i leave comment without sounding too salesy? Of course, be authentic. people are afraid to leave comments

Lean: use blogging as a way to express a new idea, product, etc. look at comments as a business tool to discover interest

Katie: fascintaing to me the lowest percentge of comments os from PR people

Lena: another case study. thinking of ROI in different terms. hellomynameis.com (name tag guy) has been able to track his speaking gigs to specific blog posts. Do investigative work and have a process to know what is going on and how the ehard about you.

Katie: don’t ignore international implications. the blog is getting a huge amount of international trafic. intersting the people whoa re following overseas are the smartest and richest and thought leaders of those communities

Daniella: how many considering placing ads on blogs?

K: the question is where should i spend my money next year for advertisers. one of problems is how many people are going to come to a certain blog?

audience: not so much about eyeballs, but which eyeballs. know the market.

L: shift from quantity to quality of readers.. Am I reaching my people? you need to determine that.

learning what was done right and wrong previously in the medium

K: know what web analytics you can collect. PR doesn’t know what to ask for. And have the next piece of information– you want to track it you need a sales tracking system.

L: power of giving to get. MArketing funnel, either they will buy something or they will refer someone. don’t be afraid to offer something free to draw the clients in then push to buy.

L: investment part of ROI. you can not expect to succeed in social media without time or money. clients need to learn how to be a part of the conversations

measurement tools: depending upon the volume. clients not understanding blogs and consumer generated reviews. the client wants to measure everything that is not traditional, not just blogs.

K: automated systems are not as good as human beings for looking at the data

D: factiva has an automated product, work with customers to understand their audience. consumer company needs a wider net. a smaller company might want a custom dashboard for departments. allows people to do measurement along with mainstream media. the tool allows them to do this.

K: data and interaction with traditional media and social media. can take information from socia media to put back into the traditional media.

D: the changes in socail media are quick, difficult to change in the middle and how do you change dynamically and easily because mamoth companies do not change easily.

L: don’t think social media will go away. importamt to look at your organization to see if you are applying old tradtional ways in new social media. can not plane for five eyars, be as dynamic as possible may require reengineering of the business. we tell clients that every new efficiency there will be an effect on your business determine what that effect will be and whenter it is positive or negative and how will handle that.

What is the messgae? make sure you have something interesting to say. Don’t have anything to say of interest in your area of expertise no one is going to listen. Think about what is my message and is it worthy of social message.The you can talk about ROI.

Posted by Chris @ 8:19 am | Comments  

BlogHer Business Live Blog: How to Build Your Audience

(please excuse typos, grammar errors, crazy typing,etc)

Elise will have a page up at her website later today with the notes from her speech.

How To Build Your Audience

How to build traffic by leveraging technology and building robust community. How to optimize your site to build search engine traffic. How to use syndication (RSS) & subscriptions to build recurring traffic. How participating in the bigger blogging community drives traffic and comments. The works. Featuring mega-blogger Elise Bauer and Vanessa Fox, who can address the issue of SEO from the biggest SE of them all, Google.

Elise: I’d like to hear how many people here have blogs? How many people have corporate blogs? personal? Who uses blogger? typepad? wordpad, etc?

E: background about myself. 4rs ago I began blogging with moveable type, started blog Learning Moveable Type and then simply recipes blog. That site has grown to see 40-50,000 visitors a day. Last summer it was half that. Ihave been advising companies for years now focusing effort on my blog .

Three subjects: community, search engine optimization, and syndication,
Content: write about what you are passionate about or you will burn out and people won’t come. Also be useful, it has the most longevity.

:One of the things that strikes me is that people who come form tradtional publishing I thought great to express myself. I had comments coming in from people I don’t know. ALmost ignored them, who are they? Why are they coming? People usually are initially afreaid of linking to other sites. I have learned that community is the best levearge point for your blog. The engaging with an audience and people who ar einterested in the same things as you.

The difference between an online newsletter and a blog: it isn’t all about you. If you do not have comments active it is a newsletter. Tries to respond in the comment section also. Can have a stated comment policy.

My blog is my livingroom. Where to draw the line at approving comments? Decide the tone you want on your own blog.

The difference between broadcasting your message and engaging a peer group. “Make me care.”

1. link out to other blogs as much as you can. A blog roll shows that you care enough about the community, and those are the people that you want to come to our blog. linking to another “competitor” blog helps audience get the information that they want. Useful

2. Comments.check in and leave comments on their blogs. Her personal policy on how to get on blogroll: must be a food blog, link out to others and have been around for six months

3. Blog events. Carnivals. a great way to get started is to host an event. Send other bloggers an invite to participate in the event.

4. Contribute to community

RSS Syndication:

Elise has over 200,000 subscribers to her feed

You want to have it set up so that feed readers can find your feed and people can find it easily.

Google in upper right side click on personalize google homepage. Many people come to ELise’s site through personalized google. Personalize your yahoo page with RSS feeds. Add to my google, add to my yahoo, etc buttons that way visitors can click on the button and type in their information and then they are on their page. Feedblitz will send your RSS feed to subscribers via email

Make sure your link is pointing to your feed

make sure you have this line

Search Engine Optimization:

HAnding over to Vanessa, works for google. webmaster central

Why is search important?i

Reverse advertising:potential vistors to your site are broadcasting exactly what they are look ing for. you can connect with your customers in individualized ways.

They want to provide the most relevance possible. Want users to spend as little time on google and onto the site theya re looking for

why does my site not show up? what can i do?

1: Discover: search engine has to know that the pages exist

follow links from other pages
through sitemap submission, basically a sitemap of all the pages of your blog. Can grab this through an RSS feed
more info you have more that people will connect through your links

2: Crawlability: search engines have to be able to access the pages

Are they allowed to access pages? is there a problem with the site or server?
Can they technically access pages?
Can they extract text from the pages?

With blogs this tends to be easy since google is text based search engine, flash is a problem, images can also be a problem. try turning everything off and see what text there is. Keep this in mind for people who are using your site. Don’t use flash for no reason. Can not read text inside of an image. use the alt tag with a relevant name and description. Caption and description of image.

When you search the engine looks for pages with matching text. othe factors include page title and content, links

3. Relevance: is a page from the site the most useful result for the search query?

What is the page about? What words are used on the page?
How well is the opage linked and how is it described by other sites?

What is your site about?

List top ten phrases about your site

Each phrase should be at least two words (”running shoe” raher than “shoes”)

If time allows, research what people are actually searching for. Use the words that people will be searching for to bring them into your site.

yahoo keyword selector tool
google adwords keyword tool
COuntry-specific tools
Researching keywords

HAve good relevant unique content

the long tail search can add up. They come in through many different avenues

Funnel traffic, no longer people just coming to home page

Nike only gets 1% of all people looking for shoes. Zappos gets 21%. The reason is that Nike’s site is all graphic, not text based. Therefore the engine crawling the page doesn’t recognize it. They never use the word “shoes” in their site. make sure the words you want to target are in your site

What not to do:

don’t join a site just to put tons of links from random sites, relevant is the most important

the first thing is the guidlines at the webmaster central. Can find search terms people used to get to your site. look at what words are there that google thinks your site is about.

Do not allow turn and burn, which means putting terms in behind the site to bring people to the site

Image Labeler:
allow to opt in and have your images used in a game where people label your images, then the work is done for you

Title tag: every page should have a unique title and descriptive of article
Description tag: sell your site but don’t mislead
incorporate page’s target item

designing for browsers, 90% of people who use the web search

Submitting to search engines:

power of links:

context of links as well as numbers

Link Building Rules:

1.link to sites that you want vistors to know about
2.get links from websites that are read by the audience that you want to frequent your site
3.buy links for traffic, not Page Rank

text links are the way to go, not image, or use alt title

Posted by Chris @ 8:17 am | 1 Comment  

Blogher Business Live-Blog: Track One

Stay tuned! This is a placeholder for the live blogging, to begin Friday, March 23.

How Do I Measure?

Three sessions that explore metrics. How to target the ones that matter to you, and how to appreciate the ones you may not have thought of

How to Build Your Audience

How to Measure Social ROI

An RFP fro the Management community

Posted by Chris @ 8:04 am | Comments  

Things to which I am definitely not allergic

March 20, 2007

1. Diet coke
2. Bananas
3. Oxygen
4. Benadryl

Food. It is so over rated.

Posted by Chris @ 7:28 pm | 36 Comments  

In which i whine some more

March 19, 2007

Last night we had scrambled eggs for dinner. (Yes, we used all of the eggs Miles cracked, all 24 of them.)

I am not a huge egg lover. I have never liked them. I do eat eggs inside of things, tasty things like cakes and cookies.

Last night I scrambled up all of the eggs, and for whatever reason I reached into the skillet and took a taste of the eggs. A tiny microscopic taste. A pinch between my fingers.

By the time I walked from the stove to the kitchen table my face was feeling warm. My oldest son looked at me and said, “Your face is really red, mom” My face swelled up, my mouth got itchy, and I felt like there was something heavy sitting on my chest. Very frightening, especially when you are the only adult in the house.

Long story short, it would appear that I have developed an allergy to eggs. I have an appointment with an allergist set up for next Tuesday.

Now is where I whine. WHY? WHy do I have to be potentially allergic to something that is in everything. Everything yummy.

I do have to say here how wonderful my children were. They cleaned up everything so I wouldn’t come into contact with more eggs. Including my 11 yr old taking the two littles upstairs and giving them baths. He also changed a poopie diaper without even telling me or complaining about it. He just did it. And when I thanked him he said, “Well, what did you expect me to do? Of course I changed his diaper.” AS if it was weird that I was thanking him.

My oldest son scrubbed the kitchen clean. he even scrubbed the skillet i cooked the eggs in. I told him he could just leave it to soak, but he said, “I’d feel better just cleaning it for you, Mom.”

My 6 yr old vacuumed and washed all the kitchen chairs down. My 9yr old washed the table and swept the floor. My 7 yr old was in the shower while the cleaning fest was going on. He may have planned it that way.

Honestly, it is times like this that I realize how good my kids are. They have never once failed to step up and help when it was neccessary. Sure they complain violently about chores on ordinary days, but who doesn’t?

I am so incredibly proud of them.

Lest you think thay are perfect angels, this afternoon my 6, 7, and 9 yr olds were whipping snowballs at the windows. I went to open the door and yell at them to knock it off when I tripped. I opened the door into my forehead. I now have a huge raised bruise in the middle of my forehead.

I feel like I am slowly falling apart. Piece by piece my body is breaking down.

Posted by Chris @ 8:43 pm | 65 Comments  

Egg-cellent dinner

Tonight Miles decided to make us eggs for dinner.

I am not sure what makes me laugh more, the seriousness with which he cracks the eggs, the way he stacks the shells, or my 7 yr old at the end of the video incredulously asking, “you allowed him to do this?” The commentary in the background by my other children kills me.

Also, be sure to notice my completely annoying voice and ineffectual parenting skills. How many more times can I say no more eggs and then not only allow it to continue, but tape it and laugh.

Posted by Chris @ 12:43 am | 65 Comments  

I already said uncle

March 18, 2007

Last night after all the children were in bed, I sat on the couch, feet propped up on the ottoman, surfing the internet and watching that show Flip This House. Have you ever seen this show? The people buy houses, completely renovate them in a couple weeks and then turn around and sell them for ungodly sums of money. They make it look so easy. I have yet to see anyone who lost money on the show. Personally I think that would add a nice dramatic touch.

As I sat there I heard my name being called. I realized it was the last lone cupcake in the refrigerator, calling out to me to eat it.

I got the lone cupcake out of the fridge and sat back down where I inhaled it in a few bites. I felt slightly guilty about eating it because I have been eating really poorly lately and my jeans have been fitting really poorly as a result.

After a few minutes of checking email I got up and went into the bathroom. I glanced in the mirror of the dimly lit bathroom and noticed my faced looked bloated and bumpy. “Oh my God,” I thought, “I have cellulite on my face?!?”

I can not tell you the depths of the despair and depression I suffered while I peed. Cellulite? On my face?

After I peed I looked at myself again in the mirror. And I realized it was hives. My cheeks were bright red, puffy, and covered with raised bumps. I could almost see it getting worse before my eyes.

And thus began the portion of my evening called freak the fuck out.

I immediately went and got the benedryl and took 4 teaspoons of it. By the time I did this and walked back to the mirror it was even worse.

The thing that is strange about allergic reactions like this, if you have never had one, is that it feels similar to a panic attack. Which makes it all the more confusing and stressful. And I began to question myself. Am I having a severe allergic reaction? or am I having a panic attack because the idea of having an allergic reaction is frightening to me. But why would I have a panic attack when I never have panic attacks?

I have anaphalactic reactions to shellfish, but have never had a reaction to anything else.

I walked around the house pacing and fretting. Then I went to get my Epi-pen and realized it was expired.

Then I went into my oldest son’s bedroom where he was awake reading.

“Do I look weird to you?” I asked.

He looked at me quizzically. “You mean your pajamas?”

“What? What’s weird about my pajamas? I was talking about my face.” I answered.

“Yeah, it looks red and bumpy-ish.”

I had him get out of bed and come downstairs with me. I was trying to play it off, probably unsuccessfully, as no big deal.

“I just want you to let me know if my face gets worse so I don’t have to keep looking in the mirror.” I said.

A couple of minutes passed and he said, “Your chin is all red now.”

At this point it was 11:45 at night. Less than 15 minutes had passed since the beginning of this and it was still getting worse in spite of the benadryl.

So I called one of my best friends and as soon as she heard my voice said, “I’ll be right over.”

She came, she looked at me, and off we went to the ER, the good one.

Blah blah long story short, many jokes about shellfish filled cupcakes later, they filled me to brim with prednisone and zantac. And it all began going away. By the time I left the ER 1.5 hours later I no longer loooked like I needed to have liposuction done to my face.

This morning I look pretty much normal. But this has shaken me. I have no idea what caused the reaction. Most likely dairy was the culprit, but I don’t know that definitively. I am angry at myself for letting my Epi-pen expire and not replacing it. I would never let that happen if it were one of my children, why do I treat myself with any less consideration.

I have been saying that I needed to take care of myself better and stop making excuses for why I can’t find the time to exercise, eat health foods, and stop the negative self-talk. This was a huge wake-up call.

And then while talking with Rob on the phone he tells me that he stabbed himself in the palm of his hand with a knife while cutting up cabbage. He said it bled everywhere and his friend was trying to convince him it needed stitches. But he MacGyvered himself a some bandages. Which is good. Two visits to the ER in one week is already over the acceptable limit of zero.

Posted by Chris @ 11:47 am | 37 Comments  

Men are from Mars, Women are sane

March 16, 2007

As I type this Rob is in Dallas, TX.

He is working his way east, one flight at a time.

His next scheduled flight will bring him to Minneapolis.

Given the choice of plane hopping across the country, or, say, remaining in San Francisco lounging around reading, drinking, eating, and soaking up sunshine for 3 more days, I would hands down stay in San Francisco. Wouldn’t need to twist my arm. And in the informal poll I took of all my women friends, all three of them, they agreed.

Some even suggested shopping for shoes, massages, and consuming frozen margaritas to lessen the pain of being forced to remain there all alone, in the peace and quiet.

Taking the same poll of all the men I know, which really means asking my girlfriends what they think their husbands would do. All agreed that they would be proactive and not ::GASP:: wait around.

Posted by Chris @ 9:25 pm | 21 Comments