Tour of California, Lance Armstrong and Action Wipes

All I can say is...WOW, what a blast! Like a lot of people, Curt and I typically watch the Amgen Tour of California on Versus, but this year, I got to watch the tour up close - behind the scenes close!

Thanks to Twitter, I got to meet Markus Neuert of Cyclefilm, who gave me the opportunity to tag along as he filmed the tour (watch Chasing Lance With Liz Kreutz - very cool!) Joining him at the Paso Robles stage, I tagged along through Solvang, Pasadena and San Diego where I was able to capture a lot of incredible pictures and a couple of videos which I will share once I have the opportunity to upload them from my camera.

In the meantime, take a look at this funny, grass roots, Twitter marketing campaign that I captured with my Blackberry - and which I hope to expand upon in the coming months (if you know of any celebrities that would lend themselves to this effort, I'd appreciate an introduction :))...

Lance Armstrong - You Need Action Wipes...

@lancearmstrong the Podium Girls have a message for you...#atoc

@lancearmstrong your stolen bike has something to say... #atoc

@lancearmstrong @timjackson *Masi Bikes* said to get a better bike... #atoc

@lancearmstrong Cannondale girls have a message too... #atoc

@lancearmstrong, @fredcast and @cyclefilm send their hellos... #atoc

@lancearmstrong @johanbruyneel has more advise 4 you... #atoc

@lancearmstrong - @philliggett and @paulsherwen have one final word 4 you... #atoc

@lancearmstrong your face is not a baby's butt, don't wipe it like one... #atoc

Grass Roots Marketing

What a week! When I last left you, I was preparing to leave for the Shorty Awards in New York. The fun began the moment I left Atascadero to Los Angeles to catch the red eye. Long 4 hour drive followed by a 6 hour flight.

Upon our arrival to New York, I found out that my interview with The Fred Cast had been posted. How did I know? Because orders were coming in one after the other and folks were kind enough to let me know they heard me on The Fred Cast. Thank you David, I had a blast doing the interview!!

Being on a very tight budget, my daughter, Bettina, and I braved the subway to our hotel near Time Square from JFK. I didn't think it was as scary as I've heard - the only thing that happened was what sounded like a gunshot and a flash of light as we passed through Queens. Everyone in our car just looked at each other with a knowing look, smiled and went about their business, so we did the same. However, Bettina looks up at a man standing in front of us reading the Metro only to see a headline that read "Tech universe prepares to honor top Twitterers" Sweeet! (They could have used a better tweet from me, but that's ok, just hope my son doesn't see it ;))

My plan for New York was to somehow get myself on The Today Show audience holding a sign. Grass roots marketing baby. So after scoping it out the first day, I decided to wait till Wednesday morning to attempt anything. Come Wednesday, I positioned myself where I was sure to be seen behind Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and Al Roker. It worked! If you looked hard, you could see my head and scarf poking between them. However, I later positioned myself just a little closer and got directly behind Matt and was easily seen for a least 2 minutes.

With excitement, I sent a tweet from my Blackberry stating: "@todayshow - Tweetup tonight @ Shorty Awards." This got their attention and in turn, they "retweeted" my note to their 10,894 followers. Super, super cool! All this garnered calls, emails and comments from other Tweeps such as:

When The Shorty Awards finally arrived, we were exhausted. I didn't sleep at all the night before even though we had walked what seemed all of New York by then. However, I somehow found the energy and we made our way to the Galapagos Art Space. What a blast! It was fun meeting fellow tweeps in person, MC Hammer and of course, the press. Here are some articles for which I was interviewed: Wall Street Journal, Business Week and CNN.

The Shorty Awards were streamed live, but if you missed it, you can still watch them. Note that I was the last to be presented the award as I flaked and did not hear my name being called, but luckily, I made it down on time after my husband sent me a text asking what happened. And of course, made an entrance :)

Elizabeth Holmes of Wall Street Journal (@EHolmesWSJ) and my cool "iTweet" t-shirt from Off Line T-Shirts.

Mr. MC Hammer (@mchammer)

Bittersweet Shorty Award Win

I won the Shorty Award for Brand. Many were surprised as expressed by this tweet: @rickmarshall "Action Wipes" beat @Marvel's Twitter army?" Yes, my 900 fellow tweeps helped Action Wipes pull ahead of Marvel Comics which has over 5,000 tweeps and with over 4,000 tweeps. Which proves it was not a "popularity" contest, but about the connection, both on a personal and professional level, one establishes with the people they choose to socialize with (hence "social media").

However, it's a bittersweet win as my dad (whom I told you about in my Thanksgiving post) passed away unexpectedly days before the announcement. So needless to say, I've been on an emotional roller coaster the past two weeks.

I was and will forever be, very appreciative of the support and encouragement my dad continually gave me. Even as he was dying, knowing I was in the lead for the Shorty Awards, he said "New York must be cursed for you." This was a reference to where the awards ceremony will be held, and to the last time I was supposed to go to New York for the launch of C&M Couples, when my mom passed away just two days prior. And in as much emotional pain as he and I were at the time, he encouraged me to go anyway. He said it again this time and encouraged me because as he said, " have to go."

While the Shorty Awards are unlike an Oscar, a Nobel Peace Prize or a Super Bowl win, it holds just as great significance for me. For one, it is something my dad and I got to share during his last days and secondly, it's the recognition that enough people felt strong enough to place their vote with Action Wipes and @marthavan that gives me the encouragement to continue on. But for Life Elements, the company and Action Wipes, the brand, I hope this award helps continue the growth in exposing our products and leads to additional distribution opportunities and yes, sales :-) ...All things Twitter has provided since I started using it a few months ago.

My thanks again to everyone that voted for me and much warm love to fellow Shorty Awards winner for Non Profit, Athletes For A Cure (@atheletes4acure), who tweeted "We dedicate our Shorty to Martha Van's Dad who lost his fight before he got to see his daughter win."