The Webinar “Party Line” at More Cowbell

Last Friday we had the first Let’s Meet Up (for Training) Webinar and, oh my God, was it fun!

It was like a big raucous party line. Some of you might actually remember those old party lines…also called Shared Service or multi-party lines.  (Yep, that’s right, you youngsters…way back in the day, phone lines were not private.)

My Grandma Hansen lived in a rural town of less than 200 in Missouri and I remember there being a local switchboard in their town when I was very, very little. Single line service phones were not the norm until the early 1970’s if you can believe that.

Yep, phones used to look like this baby!

For the uninitiated, the way the party line worked is you’d pick up the phone and rotary dial for the operator. You’d let him or her know who you wanted to talk to and the operator would ring the other party’s house so they would pick up. Answering machines did not get popular until the 1980’s so if the person wasn’t home, you just had to call back later. Today, we can’t even fathom this kind of inconvenience.

On the party line, everyone could listen in at the same time if they wanted. (Can you imagine what a treasure trove this was for writers?? I’m just saying…) Our webinar was like that, just a great big party line of Twitter and More Cowbell pals.

We had the following attendees:

The way that the webinar works (for all you future winners):

  1. I send the GoToMeeting invitation in advance in an email that includes a link to that particular “meeting room,” the meeting ID and the phone number to use for the conference call.
  2. When you open my email, you click on the link as soon as possible so you can download the GoToMeeting software in advance. This ensures that you don’t have to wait for the software to download during the meeting time, thus missing the crazy fun chatting time described below.
  3. The day of the meeting, you call the conference line first so you can chat with people while you wait for the meeting to start. If everyone enables the audio controls when they start the call, you can actually see who is speaking – their name flashes on the screen as they talk.
  4. Once the meeting comes on, you watch my screen just like another window on your computer while you chat all the while.

The phone call wasn’t necessarily where the gut-busting laughter came into our Friday fun. No, the GoToMeeting Chat window was where everyone was cracking themselves up.

I was teaching LinkedIn so I didn’t get to catch all of it until I read through the chat transcript later, but here’s a sample of what our hilarious More Cowbell friends were up to in the chat window as they listened (very politely) to the class:

“OMG, how fun to hear everyone’s voices!”

“Oooh, I hear a fellow Texan!”
“Is that you, Sharon? You have such a sweet voice!”
“Talk again. Just say something so we can hear you…”
“Isn’t this fun?”
“OH, you’re @curiocat? I talk to you ALL THE TIME.”
“What’s your Twitter name?”
“Oh, wow, COOL…I’m following you already!”
“So, where do you live?”
“East Texas, by the LA border.”
“Go Mavs!”

Blog pals like you make it really tempting to have future contests be the chance to join a monthly Coffee Klatch where we all get on the More Cowbell Party Line and doing some brainstorming together.

It was a blast to hear voices for friends that are such an integral part of our virtual lives. I feel incredibly blessed to have such FUN readers on this blog. Thank you!

What about you…are there people or groups that you follow virtually that you would LOVE to meet up with live or via phone? Let’s hear about them! Would you like a contest with a prize of group brainstorming?

REMINDER: Come join the party! Every time you comment, I put your name in the magic contest hat. Tonight, I’ll be picking those little pieces of paper out of the hat to announce the winners of the June webinar TOMORROW. The Let’s Meet Up contest started because I’m a trainer by day and it’s an easy, useful thing for me to give away. I’ll be continuing my giveaways along these lines because it’s soooo entertaining.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the winners AND a summary of the tips we discovered on Friday’s call about why LinkedIn is such a valuable tool for writers.


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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18 Responses to The Webinar “Party Line” at More Cowbell

  1. K.B. Owen says:

    We did have fun, Jenny! Thanks so much again. Once I have a few minutes to rub together, I’ll be trying out LinkedIn (my oldest graduates HS this week, so it’s crazy). And you’re right – the chat line really kicked up the fun! I felt like we were all passing notes in class. We were listening too, though, promise! 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      High school graduation is such a flurry of pride and busy-ness. Thanks for taking time to comment with all that going on! You can always ask questions as you get set up.

      You WERE all passing notes in class!! And it was funny as hell. 🙂


  2. amyshojai says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for putting me on the next list! I was sick that the computer went haywire. Hoping it’ll work better next time…esp since next Monday I’m supposed to present a Webinar on “old dog care” to a bunch of folks.


  3. Shellie Sakai says:

    It was really fun!! I loved hearing everyone’s voice. Now when I read twitter or blogs or facebook, I am listening to everyone’s voice read it to me. Thank you Jenny for all the info on LinkedIn. I am going to give it a whirl this week… be prepared I might need some help! Thank you again, you are the best!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Me too, Shellie. It’s lots of fun to get to hear people’s voices in our heads (I mean, that’s why we’re writers, right?)

      Thanks for coming and adding so much. Feel free to shoot over any questions that you have!


  4. So you were reading our IM messages to each other while you taught the lesson. 🙂

    As always Jen, you did a fabulous job teaching us! I need to really find the time to clean up and re-launch my linked in account.


    • Oh, I almost forgot! Thank you for the linkage. Jodi subscribted to my blog today…is she on twitter? If not, I’ll drop her a “Thanks” from email….


      • Jenny Hansen says:

        Jodi was the one that got razzed because she ISN’T on Twitter (and why is that, Jodi, hmmmm? I mean, there are three blogs here at More Cowbell to get you started. I’m just sayin….).
        Anyway, you’ll need to send her an email.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      No, I would have been howling with laughter if I’d been reading it DURING the session. I was mostly unaware…I read the transcripts afterward. You’ll notice I pared them down a lot for the example in the blog… 🙂


  5. curiocat says:

    Since I’m not working it gets a little bor-ing around here. It was so much fun to “get out” and visit. Thanks a lot everyone for a great experience. Let’s do it again sometime!


  6. Jenny, you’re a marvelous teacher. Thanks again for the great webinar. I had so much fun! And I learned a lot. 🙂
    Love your idea of a monthly coffee klatch on the More Cowbell Party Line.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Sharon. I’ve taught a lot of crowds over the years, but I’d put this group in the top tier of fun. I’m glad you learned a lot and I think the Coffee Klatch sessions are going to be a must-have for the future….


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  8. Thanks again Jenny! I’ve joined 4 LinkedIn groups since Friday and even contributed to some discussions. Wise words from my linked leader. . . 🙂

    Also, soooooo glad to talk to everyone. It has made social media real for me.


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