This is a true story. Shel Holtz, Jen McClure, Katie Paine, Joseph Thornley, Robert Scoble and others were witness.
Not sure why I’m telling the world this, I guess it’s in the spirit of transparency and kind of a way to deal with the embarrassment.
In my social media career, this is THE most embarrassing public moment I’ve had to date.
- There were hundreds of PR professionals at the Ragan PR conference in the crowd, including a video (we’ve got to get the video for this).
- We we’re at the Chicago PR Conference, and Robert is kicking off the entire conference with his Keynote speech.
- There are problems with the Powerpoint projector, it’s not calibrated to show all of Robert’s slides (you know the Hugh ones) and the words were getting cut off on the left and bottom.
- He asks me to get on stage and help him switch to ‘edit’ mode, so at least the entire slide will be seen through the projector. I stay on the podium on stage while Robert cruises through the crowd.
- As I mentioned before, the awareness of social media was very low, and many folks were not familiar with web tools, blog indexers, etc.
- During his speech Robert was referencing many of these tools, and he had to spell out the URLs, it was taking up time, so I decided to help by opening a new PPT preso and adding in the URLs. Big F’ing mistake.
- For some reason (and I swear I didn’t do it) the new presentation opens up and it pastes his last text he wrote. It said something about “…that’s BS and something about someone else’s name”. Whatever the content was, it looked like a private email, and it wasn’t appropriate for the presentation.
- Then the PC froze and I had no control over anything, omg.
- Aside from the PC freezing, I froze too, I was mortified.
- During this whole time, people started to snicker but Robert was facing the audience and couldn’t see what was going on.
- He turns around and says to me over the mic “what ARE you doing?”
- Jeremiah still mortified as his text was pasted in front of the whole audience.
- Jeremiah: “Control Alt Delete, Control Alt Delete, Control Alt Delete”.
- Finally, the laptop gave into my panic, and it returned to the presentation.
- I apologized quietly, and I could feel my face burning bright red, and I hide behind the podium.
- Fortunately, Robert isn’t a person to get mad about such things, and he lives his entire life in public, I found out later it was a blog comment he left on his public blog.
Lesson 1) Don’t try to help out, just sit there, next time I’ll pretend to be technically inept.
Lesson 2) Robert needs a new laptop.
Lesson 3) A little humility can go a long way.
The Crowd (just a partial shot)
Robert with his cursed-hexed-evil Laptop.