As the lights dimmed for the 12/12/12 Dell World keynote, given by Michael Dell and former President Bill Clinton, the announcer told us that cell phones and photographs were prohibited. Put them away, please. The audience gave a little shudder, which I translated as body language for something along the lines of no way. I considered complying, since I’m a Dell employee, but then my better self beat a hasty retreat. I put my smartphone on my lap.
Michael Dell spoke and then introduced Clinton, and I was surprised to discover that most of the people surrounding me had not, in fact, seen their better selves beat a hasty retreat. Their better selves were sitting right there, not taking photos of Bill Clinton. I admired them. And then I took a few pictures of Bill Clinton.
I held myself in check for a good hour before Clinton joined Dell on a chair and hitched up his trousers to reveal the most bodacious pair of longhorn cowboy boots I’ve ever seen. Whereupon my seatmates’ better selves joined mine in Hell and whipped out their phones, snapping pictures madly. I tweeted and Facebooked mine, whereupon Mashable editor Lance Ulanoff messaged me to ask whether he could publish my photos.
Uh oh. Now I was in trouble. I was going from being a secret Clinton tweeter to a public, published Clinton tweeter.
So of course I said yes right away. I sent Lance more photos – one of Michael sitting with Bill, a close-up of Bill’s boots (note that in my mind I was suddenly on a first-name basis with both of them), and my title for the photo credit, all the while relying on how unlikely it was that Mashable would actually post them and catch me in the act of flouting the rules of my very own employer.
But no such luck. In mere minutes, the story, called “Proof That Bill Clinton is Actually an Awesome Cowboy” was live, complete with two photos, a picture credit, and the Bill quote I’d posted.
What’s the first thing I did? I tweeted the link to Michael.
Stephanie Losee is the lifestyle editor of Tech Page One and Managing Editor of Dell Global Communications. Her Twitter handle is @slosee.