The Questions I would Ask after Listening to “The Living Room”

This morning I listened to an episode of Radio Lab called “The Living Room.” The funny thing is I wasn’t even planning on listening to that. I was getting ready to listen to the latest episode of Reply All but my podcast player auto played this episode instead. I think it was the Irish voice at the beginning, announcing a sponsor, that got me sucked in.

After the show was over I felt like I needed a “book club” to process what I had just listened to.

Spoiler alert. The show is about a New York City woman who watches another couple through their unblocked bedroom window. She sees them having sex and over time watches the young man come down will a serious illness and die.

Wow! What do you do with a topic like that? Does listening to a show about a voyeur inadvertently make me an unwilling voyeur myself?

I had so many questions running through my mind after listening to this. But then I thought, what if I had a group of people together discussing questions about the episode? The differences in opinions would be enlightening. Perhaps it could help us understand our own humanity here in 2015.

So with that in mind, a group of people sitting around and discussing this, here are the questions I would like to ask. (You should probably listen to the show before reading the questions.)

Is a show about voyeurism even interesting?

Why is a show about voyeurism interesting?

Are people in a city entitled to privacy if they choose not to be private?

Are people in a major international city not aware that strangers are watching them all the time?

How did the husband feel about his wife’s obsession?

Was the husband obsessed as well?

Did the wife tell anyone else about her voyeuristic obsession besides her husband?

Is getting a pair of binoculars crossing the line into invasion of privacy?

Is invasion of privacy even possible if people refuse to get curtains and keep their actions private?

What happened in the relationship of the husband and wife after the discovery and continued watching of the other couple having sex (ie. did it create friction, closeness, embarrassment or something else)?

Would the wife have reacted differently about the seeing the progression toward death if she had not been obsessively watching their intimate moments first?

Which is more emotionally powerful, sex or death? What’s the difference?

Was the wife entitled to feel so emotionally connected to the young couple?

Did the wife really mourn the young man or was she just feeling an emotional aftermath similar to watching a powerful movie drama?

Is there a difference between real life emotions and emotions resulting from voyeurism?

What is it about death that draws us into someone else’s life?

If we feel such powerful emotions, especially about strangers, what do we do with those?

Is it selfish and unfair to family and friends in our lives to be impacted so strongly by emotions stemming from people we don’t even know?

If you were in the wife’s position would you have done the same thing?

If you were the wife and bumped into the young woman at a store would you say anything to her? Why or why not?

How would the young woman react to finding out that someone had been watching her life?

Is it creepy to watch someone in a city or is it just city life?

What are the chances that someone listening to the podcast would make the connection about who the young woman is and would tell her?

Why would the wife admit to this story and share it publicly? What is the purpose of that?

Does the wife feel a sense of guilt that is absolved by sharing the story?

What does this story reveal about humanity and our feelings about sex and death?

What does this story reveal about our sense of community?

10 Fun Games to Play with the new She Podcasts Twitter List



1. Nothing. Just sit back and wait for the new listeners to find you, right?

2. Subscribe to the list! What a great way to follow the She Podcasters on Twitter!

3. Set up a She Podcasts feed in HootSuite (or your Twitter dashboard of choice). Don’t make it an effort to sort through your main twitter stream. Create a stream dedicated to She Podcasters.

4. Promote the list. Not only are you on the list but you can encourage other people to subscribe to the list! Remember all those male podcasters, right? Let them know the She Podcasters have it going on!

5. Twitter analysis. See how many of the ladies use a podcast specific account vs. a personal account to promote their podcast on Twitter.

6. Promote your fellow She Podcasters’ podcasts! Start retweeting their new episode announcements. It may not be cool to give unearned iTunes reviews but it is very cool to retweet!

7. Introduce yourself! Send a tweet to all (or at least some) of the She Podcasters and say “Hi”!

8. Network. After making your She Podcast stream, start interacting on Twitter with your fellow She Podcasters. Get to know them beyond the name of their podcast!

9. Market Analysis. Choose 5-10 of the She Podcasters and analyze their activity on Twitter. Does it look like they have a Twitter strategy? Can you figure out what their strategy is? How do they promote their podcast? Do they look like they are promoting a business as well? Are they simply “broadcast tweeters” (on and off quickly or completely scheduled and not on at all)? Do they engage with their followers?

10. Partner. Find other She Podcasters in your niche and form an alliance. Brainstorm how you can work together to promote and support each other.

Inspiration Leads to Engagement

This morning I was listening to The Feed, the official Libsyn postcast hosted by Elsie Escobar.  This episode features an interview on branding with Jessica Kupferman.

Right about the 35 minute mark Elsie talks about calls to action and how to measure them. She remarks that you would have to provide a download or giveaway where the url is only provided to listeners of the podcast (ie not on the website or social media). The download would be a “reward” for the podcast listeners and would also be a measurable call to action as a result.

I was thinking about how I could apply this to my podcast. Each week I interview an author and give away one book to a member of the podcast mailing list.  But there’s a gap between the interview and the audience who have yet to read the book.  A downloadable giveaway could act to provide valued content to the audience, give me the engagement I seek and give the publisher added promotional benefit.

One of the publishers who sent a review copy and press kit recently also sent a sheet with interesting facts from the book. I thought that would be perfect to repackage as a pdf to give away as an exclusive download to the audience. The question was would other publishers be willing to do something similar for the other authors and books I featured?

I set out right away to contact three publishers with my proposal. Here are my results:

Publisher 1 – I caught her off guard just calling up on the phone. I explained that I would love to have a one page pdf with facts or profiles from the book. I explained that not only could it be used for my show but she could re-use it for other purposes and events. This publicist is with a small university press.  She liked the idea but was concerned about being able to get it to me in time since they have limited staff.  She is moving forward, though, to see if she can make it happen.

Publisher 2 – This publicist works for a major New York publishing house. I gave her the same pitch as above. She basically said that the responses they get from large broadcasters (ie NPR, etc) don’t warrant going to extra any effort. She felt their current marketing efforts were enough and wouldn’t spend the time to create a one page promotional pdf. Yes, I admit I felt the sting of rejection. I shook it off and moved on to the next one.

Publisher 3 – This publicist was also from a large New York publishing house. The advantage was she had provided me the fact insert in the press kit that inspired my idea. I only had to ask her to repackage the existing content into a pdf that could be shared. We talked about copyright, audience engagement and metrics. She was open to hearing my suggestions and thoughts on marketing and promotion.  She gave me a tentative green light pending approval from her superiors and the author.

Inspiration can come in unexpected places. Elsie and Jessica’s discussion lead to an idea that I was able to formulate, develop and act on immediately. Was I uncomfortable calling the publicists and pitching my idea? YES! But the ultimate gain to my show and my audience outweighed the discomfort.

Be open to ideas where ever you find them and figure out how you can transform them into actionable success!

Storytelling for Success

I love storytelling. Storytelling is the foundation of successful business, entertainment, interpersonal relations. Everything really. The better storytellers we are, the better we can get our point across and in a more memorable way.

I strongly believe that storytelling is the key to business success. Many people are talking about this being the age of content marketing. The basis of much of content marketing is clearly and effectively telling a story.

This past week there was an excellent example of storytelling in one of the most unexpected places – an ad for Chili’s restaurant.  The commercial shares the stories of three different groups of people at one table during the course of a day.  The focus is on the stories of those people rather than the restaurant. The stories of the people, and their lives reinforce why Chili’s is the place to be. The message – Life Happens at Chili’s.

Here’s the ad:

Some quick online research reveals that Chili’s has started a new campaign called More Life Happens Here.  They have a website and videos on YouTube. The focus is on life happening at Chili’s as well as giving back to the community.

It’s an absolutely brilliant campaign that utilizes storytelling at it’s best to connect with their current and potential audience.  I will be very interested to see what they do with future ads.