A Tribute To Kevin M. Collins

The HB Communicators Perform a Benefit Concert at Infocomm 2011 

An Evening To Remember Kevin M. CollinsOn June 14, I attended the Infocomm 2011 opening keynote and reception at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.  The reception was followed immediately by An Evening To Remember Kevin M. Collins.  As VP of HB Communications and former Infocomm executive, Kevin was an audiovisual industry icon before he departed this life earlier this year.  

His friends and coworkers recently started a scholarship fund for his youngest daughter, Caroline Collins, and attendees were encouraged to contribute.  Joyful laughs mixed with tears as the stories of Kevin were passed arround the room, filled with many of his former coworkers, manufacturers’ representatives, industry friends, and family.

Seven of Kevin’s friends from HB Communications (from two offices) got together to form The HB Communicators, and learned a mix of upbeat songs for the memorial event.  The band consisted of CEO Dana Barron on drums, Jody Thompson on lead vocals, Bert Coburn on bass, Ian Stewart on trumpet, Ted Thompson on guitar and lead vocals, Eddie Nowik on lead guitar, and Michael Joseph Yorgensen on keyboards. They played almost two hours, as a slide show of memories served as their backdrop.  It was a wonderful event for all present.  If you were unable to attend, and still want to contribute to the scholarship fund, you can fill out this form or email info@hbcommunications.com for more information. 

HB Communications CEO Dana Barron plays drums behind his employees in Orlando

Jody Thompson at An Evening To Remember Kevin M. Collins

Ian Stewart of HB Communications at An Evening To Remember Kevin M. Collins

Members of HB Communications at An Evening To Remember Kevin M. Collins

Jody Thompson, Eddie Nowik, Ted Thompson, Dana Barron, and Bert Coburn of HB Communications

An Evening To Remember Kevin M. Collins

The HB Communicator play in remembrance of Kevin M. Collins at Infocomm 2011

HB Communications To Remember Collins At Infocomm (www.commercialintegrator.com)

Kevin Collins Receives InfoComm International Distinguished Achievement Award (www.infocommshow.org)

Show Them Some Love (www.pkaudiovisual.com)


Social Media Tools

My Top Ten Twitter Tools

If you are new to Twitter, you may not realize that there are a number of third-party websites, plugins, and apps that make it easier to tweet and follow other tweeters.  Twitter itself has a certain beauty in its simplicity, but it is not very user-friendly once you have connected with a few dozen people.   How can you prioritize what tweets you really want to read, vs. those tweets that are more optional?

Also, from a business standpoint, Twitter itself offers very little feedback in terms of your ROI.  How many people got your tweet, and who retweeted it?  What are people saying about you or your company online? When are your followers online?  When is the best time to send a tweet?  What are your neighbors tweeting?

To help answer these questions, here are my Top Ten Twitter Tools in no particular order:

  1. Tweetdeck.com allows you to sort your incoming tweets into logical columns.  You can create your own groups, follow hashtags, DMs or listen for others tweeting about you.  Since Tweetdeck was recently purchased by Twitter, the two will likely become one.
  2. Hootsuite.com is similar to Tweetdeck, but in addition to columns, it adds another level of organization with customizable tabs.  So, you might have a tab for weekdays feeds and another for weekends.  Hootsuite also gives users the ability to schedule tweets in advance
  3. FollowFridayHelper.com – #FollowFriday or #FF gives you a chance to recommend your favorite Tweeters to your followers, AND the Twitterverse.  Follow Friday Helper makes it easier to share the love, any day of the week.
  4. WhatTheTrend.com is very helpful when you don’t know what a particular hashtag means.  I was recently stumped by #NSN3D which turned out to be a Justin Bieber movie.  Whatthetrend is also a good place to “unofficially register” your hashtag for Twitter parties, industry topics, or events
  5. Tweriod.com will tell you what times your followers are online the most during the week.  It does so in a general sense, without breaking anyone’s privacy.
  6. Timely.is (notice .is not .com) helps you send your tweets at optimal times to reach the most followers.  You load up your queue to shoot a tweet once or thrice a day, but can also send tweets more immediately as needed.  You can turn off weekends, and track to see who retweeted your tweets, and even see how many poeple clicked your links.


  7. Twittervision.com shows live tweets on a google topo map.  I wish more emergency responders knew about this tool; it might come in handy during a search and rescue situation.
  8. Twtvite.com (notice spelling) is like Evite for Twitter.  It’s normally used for Tweetups but can also be used for virtual online parties and Twitter chats.
  9. Trendistic.com also lists trending topics, but adds a graphic showing the trend over the last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, etc.  Certain trending topics may only last a week, others will ebb and flow over time depending on who is online.
  10. Visibletweets.com and Twitterfountain.com have serious potential for digital signage and live events.  Imagine a tweetup or a concert where patrons could tweet to a large screen using a certain hashtag.

You can sign into most of these tools and websites using your Twitter credentials, so its easy to bounce back and forth between them.  They also integrate with URL shorteners like bit.ly and tinyurl.com so you can track how many people have clicked the links in your tweets.

What are your favorite Twitter tools?