Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

The Facebook “Blow-Off”

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Facebook has made my life simpler in some ways and complicated at the same time – during the day I can love it and hate it several times depending what is going on.  Then I guess it is not Facebook’s fault, Facebook allows me to see the good and bad in people in more of a constant barrage of information, once again it is the people not the messenger (Facebook) right?

Facebook makes it easy to feel bad that you cannot donate to every cause that people support.  Facebook makes it easy for people to invite people they hardly know to events that they would never invite them to in person, because hey, they like you, but not that much.  Facebook allows people that you “friended” in a weak moment to know what you are doing without becoming involved in your life, giving you support or feedback.  Facebook allows you to invite people (not randomly chosen), to an event many tell you they are coming and they cannot wait – then don’t show.  No call, no email note, nothing to say, “I know I RSVP’ed and you made extra reservations/food, but I cannot make it.”

So what does this tell us?  This isn’t Facebook’s fault.  We have all heard from our parents and perhaps some of us have even said it ourselves, everyday our society seems to be getting just a little more disconnected to the HUMAN side of things.  People give you the finger after they cut you off when you are driving, athletes engage in all out brawls on the fields, tracks and courts, parents post videos on YouTube of kids fighting while they cheer the fighters on.

What is this world coming to?

The other day a friend of mine and I were talking about “Random Acts of Kindness” and how good they make you feel when you do them.  She reminds her kids daily to do ONE nice thing for someone else – no matter how small it may be.  And of course we may say, “Isn’t that sad, to have to be reminded?”  But I say, “Hallelujah!  Parenting is back!”  Don’t ever take for granted what your kids may or may not know, especially when it comes to manners and it also reminds YOU of the importance of common courtesy.

I have another friend that always says, “Thank You.” Even when you aren’t sure it was required, but it is that reminder to me that I need to say it more often if I am questioning if a “Thank You,”  was necessary.  He even says it when he “Blackberry Messages” me.  And now I am making sure I do it too – it makes me feel better seeing it on the screen whether I am getting it or sending it.

Chris Brogan has been saying “Be Human” for a long time and it all sounded good to me, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant, the more I become involved and use Social Media tools and the more I see people I know using these tools,  I can really appreciate what “Being Human” means.

So think about doing your part today to say or do something kind for someone. And remind a young person in your life. The more chat rooms, comments on blogs, texting and “facebooking” we do, the less connected we become.  But we still ARE human and we all need to remember that.

What will you do today?

We ALL Know “That Guy!”

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

It started when you were a kid.  The person that looked at your paper during tests, the person that wanted “help” with his/her homework, or that person that read the newspaper over your shoulder in an airport.

What do all these people have in common?

Stop Drinking from the toilet!

Stop Drinking from the toilet!

No initiative, no original idea, easier to “steal” from others than to give up anything themselves, because “Hey, let the other guy do all the work or pay for the newspaper.”  I am noticing this is really easy to do when it comes to Social Media. So easy to lurk and be anonymous. So easy to take someone’s thoughts and make them your own. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, but some days it really does.  I guess today is one of those days.  Some folks are new to this game, so I understand and they certainly get the benefit of the doubt here. But there are many folks in the “Marketing and Media” profession that are takers and they always have been, if they had gone to the same high school with me they probably would have cheated off my French tests.

Today, they are the people that want to connect with you on Linked In or “Friend you” on Facebook, “Follow” you on Twitter.

Here is a blog post from Chris Brogan that reaffirms really what this is about.  If you are one of the “professionals” that monitors tweets or Facebook content and never provides any help or input to anyone that you are looking at, then this is for you.  Of course Chris does it in such a nicer way that I am feeling right now, he is a grown-up afterall.

I read Chris’s stuff for inspiration for when someone has hurt my feelings, for when I need to learn.  Chris is a “giver” in the “UBER” category.  Not all of us, (which includes me) can do what he does…but we can try.  And in the long run, it does pay off, I truly believe that.

So the next time you are checking out someone’s Facebook page, leave a note.  If you use Twitter, retweet someone’s brilliance or find one of your own. Look around you and see what you can share with the world.

PS. I got this photo from this blog, you may find it as amusing as I did!

Too Dangerous…

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

My niece just got a cell phone.  She is 10 years old.  I have no children, so I am not qualified to comment on whether this is a good idea or not.  When she was a “wee one” of about 3, I would call my brother and he would ask her if she wanted to talk to “Aunt Kelly” she would say, “Too Dangerous.” We thought that was funny.  We thought that she had a sense of humor. Even my brother and sister-in-law thought it was funny.

Well little did I know that because she lived so far away, she didn’t remember me, so I was a STRANGER in her world.  So the whole “STRANGER DANGER” thing took on a whole new meaning. We see them and talk to them often, so I am no longer a stranger to her and we spend summer vacation time together.

For the past few years, she would confiscate her mom or dad’s cell phone and shoot me off a photo or a text message and I would be thinking, “What are they talking about?”  Then I would find out it was my niece and not them.  She is quite versed in using a cell phone – she can text better than they can!

Last Saturday, I got a text message from an unknown number, but from the area code that my brother lives in.  My first text, “Hi Auntie Kelly.”  It is my niece (obviously) she has gotten her first cell phone. Within the next 2 days I must have gotten 10 text messages from her.  Then I thought “Whoops I hope my brother’s package includes unlimited texting.”  (Here’s something that will freak you out – an $18,000/month cell phone bill!)

When you get a cell phone for your kids, it is meant to be a “tool” so you can stay connected, for them it is often considered a “toy.”  Last week,  I posted on our Sephone Blog this article about Facebook Places in relation to “Privacy Settings” .  Then when I started this post, I found this one from safekids.org (which is really a great site for all kinds of things.) In particular, this is about your kids telling too much information or their friends telling too much information on where they are, whom they are with, and at what time.  That may be helpful to you as a parent, but it is also helpful to bullies or predators.  Unfortunately, that is the world we are living in.

Our cell phone people (Central Maine Wireless) are the best.  They actually take the time and really help us make the phones work for what we need them for and everybody is different.  So take the time and make sure you don’t get some whopping bill because your kids usage of the phone may not be the same as yours or maybe things you cannot even imagine are happening BECAUSE of that cell phone. Here is a link that Paul shared with me about features you can apply to the phones you can buy for your kids.

Here is an old post (but a great one) to review when you buy that cell phone or even to use as a learning tool for those that have one all ready.  And have a safe and happy Fall 2010!

It is OFFICIAL! “Consumer Reports” and I are breaking up!

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

For years I have or someone close to me has had a subscription to Consumer Reports magazine.  You are making an important purchase and you look up with they think about it.  AND they dont accept advertisements so you feel a certain comfort level in what they report.  I love the format, I love the ease in figuring out what the selling features are with the grid – what I don’t like is the information on the last 3 products I bought using their recommendations.

The first product was a digital camera and it turned out to be a disaster – I ignored my own experience to buy one they reported as “Best Value.” Well Best Value is sitting on a shelf broken and I am too frustrated with the company to send it back.

The next one is a vacuum from Sears – Kenmore.  I absolutely hate it and it wasnt cheap.  Today I was ready to throw it into the river.  If I spent as much time actually vacuuming as I did trying to fix the one I have (that is a year old and I have a housekeeper that hates it so much she brings her own) I would have the cleanest house in the world. I was so frustrated I posted something on Facebook and sure enough I learned another friend was unhappy with this thing, while 2 others told me DYSON was the one I should get!

The other one is a front loader washer.  It has been fixed twice and there are 2 people in my house, no kids.  It doesnt get much of a work out, but it cannot take whatever 2 people can give it.

So now what will I do? First, I will buy nothing ever again from Sears and I won’t ever bother with “Consumer Reports.” I don’t think they are bad people, I just think they are not like me and I don’t need to pay a subscription to somebody that gives me bad information.

And neither do you have to.  User generated reviews are changing how people get information and make decisions.  “Consumer Reports” has an online website where members (you pay) sign up to get information.  I am not doing that, when Amazon has reviews that website companies like consumersearch.com link to for people’s opinions.  YOUR experiences, your opinions, free of charge.

There is a great user generation travel tool called tripadvisor.com that allows the traveling public to provide their experiences easily and for free.  For those of us that use it, we need to also tell the good news when it happens, because oftentimes it is just people frustrated and angry that bother to participate and that is only half of the story.  So if you decide to use these sites, I suggest you put in your two cents worth. Tell the people and products that are important to you that you like them!  It only takes a minute.  Then the time YOU want information from someone you will get it.  Keep in mind information isn’t always accurate, so poke around and check it further before you make a decision!

A not-so fancy site is consumerreview.com and it takes tons of clicks and unlike consumersearch.com the content seems to be organic, meaning a person has to go to that site that has purchased something from somewhere else and tell it.  With a site using an Amazon feed – the people are there anyway and Amazon prompts you for your reviews on products that they sell.

I suggest as this buying season is upon us, you participate in the review process, it is painless and helpful to those of us that really want information.

Happy Holidays and use the internet as the convenience and time saving tool that it is!

Shame on YOU Social Media

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

After I wrote this post for my Daily Rant Blog, I figured it may belong here too.  So I am posting it in two blogs, because it is important.

Over the past few months I have heard some pretty crazy stuff. I have had people get frustrated, sound fearful and make bizarre claims about social media, as if it is the demise of the universe as we know it.

The universe?
No.

Traditional Media?
Maybe… talk to me in 10 years, maybe sooner.

Here are a few random comments and I will keep it to 3:

  1. Social Media is “narcissistic.”
  2. “I don’t want to become like people I know and be on Facebook all day.”
  3. “Twitter freaks me out, I am afraid of it.”

Social Media can help you attain your goals:

  1. Help YOU navigate the vast expanse of information on the internet that increases ten fold every day.
  2. Help YOU find people that think like you and share with them – most of them you may never meet.
  3. Help YOU get your own message out in your voice and on your terms – most often for the cost of little of your time.

Does any of this sound so bad?

Social Media is hardly the Anti-Christ, destroyer of all we know as reasonable today, but it may be the transformer or catalyst that moves us into a next level of how we receive and PARTICIPATE in delivering information.

Here are some other truths:

Social Media allows just about anybody to have an opinion, type it into a computer and let the world see it. Like it or not.

Traditionally,  we were SPOKEN TO, fed or preached to… a writer from our newspaper, a reporter from a TV or radio station, someone that told us the NEWS.

Only sometimes from their perspective, it was really opinion, based on the reporters “take on things.”   It’s amazing how many few GREAT, true journalists were in my life, but even they had to rely on information from others and had to translate it.

If you are my age, you have memories before the 24 hour news cycle of cable TV and pressures related to get stories to the listening public – sometimes before checking facts, making sure that the information is accurate.

What social media does is, it invites YOU to participate.  For example: Did you see a tornado and take a quick amateur video of it?  Did you go to an event that no traditional media reporters was able to attend, but you were there with your camera?

And how about your own business?
You know it best.
You know YOU best.

Social Media helps you control your message and support other marketing/advertising you may be doing, your website, your promotions, it answers the questions the customers ask “Why should I spend my ‘hard earned’ at your company, on your product?”  You get to ask what is important to your customer YOURSELF and answer those questions DIRECTLY and be in control.

It isn’t narcissistic, it is reality.  Yeah you get to “toot your own horn” and what is wrong with that?  If you don’t believe in yourself and what you do, then why bother? Your passion is hard to translate expecting others to do it for you in your way also takes time and energy – why not use that time and energy to make the tools of social media work for YOU!

“Everybody” is an expert, yeah right!

Friday, July 10th, 2009

I read a lot of things on line.  If you read my posts very often,  you probably know that all ready.  But something interesting happened to me yesterday and I felt the urge to share it.

I was in a meeting with a person that expressed frustration and confusion with social media and feels overwhelmed.  She starts off with the list, “I know I am supposed to twitter, blog, facebook and I don’t know where to begin and I am embarrassed to admit it to anybody! Everything I read out there online makes me feel really intimidated.  I am so far behind the 8-ball, I don’t even know – what I don’t know.”

She reads lots of blogs and we both agreed how often we’re shocked by blogs and blog comments that are arrogant and hurtful. Almost as if there isn’t a person on the end of that keyboard.

If a person from the “40+ something” generation reads stuff like that, it is intimidating and often discourages them from engaging in a wonderful sharing process that 95% of this whole Social Media “thing” is.

In the Social Media world, I personally believe there ARE NO REAL experts – in fact it is really SO NEW for us NON-TECHIE types, it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes.  In fact if you are over 40, my guess is you come from a culture where asking for help isn’t easy.  ESPECIALLY from a complete stranger.  You feel as though you are exposing your inefficiencies and in our day, you could get terminated for that – especially if you are female.  I think half of the jobs I had in the 80’s were kept because I knew how to use a telex, was polite on the phone and could type!

How I got started.  I have had a Twitter Account for a long time now – (longtime in Twitter years is like “dog years” on steriods-2 years in Twitter time is like 20 years because of how fast this Social Media thing is moving!)

I am lucky.  A man that works with us here (@justinrussell) at Sephone, suggested I give Twitter a shot.  The second best suggestion from him was that I follow a guy named @chrisbrogan.  So I did.  Chris Brogan is a thoughtful, information seeker and social media philanthropist in the Social Media world. (My definition, not his – in fact I haven’t even asked him if I can mention him in this post- oops!) Chris is a helper.  His blog is written in a helpful, non boastful way.  I have NEVER met the man and yet I suggest people follow him whether they are in PR, Marketing or anything else.

Chris gets out there-speaks, blogs, does webinars, podcasts and is available.  As far as I am concerned, he is the center of my Social Media – but I think that may embarrass him. He always asks for feedback when he posts something and you know he is listening and reading it all.

A little tip: When you read a blog you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave it and don’t go back.  “We” are not their target audience anyway. But keep trying.  Eventually,  you will find the people that are “your experts,” in the meantime, your skin will become thicker and those “other people” wont make you feel so bad, because you are finding your own way, at your own pace, for your own reasons. It is about you, and after all it is what you want to accomplish.

So, “Come on in, the water is fine!” Get your feet wet, find some people like Chris to follow or read if you choose not to have a Twitter Account and know that most of us are finding our way as all this changes at a rapid pace. Social Media does not take a summer vacation!

The impersonal, personal side of our digital times

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

As I typed into my calendar on my laptop this morning the schedule of events I needed to attend in relationship to a recent death of a friend, it seemed weird to type the words “Funeral -(my friends name)” and actually put a “from this time – to that time” and schedule it.

In fact in the past few months, I have had several friends and relatives of friends die and I am feeling as if I may be bad luck or something. I guess it comes with the territory when you have lots of people in your life and you are a “people” person as I admittedly am.

But it brings me back to the biggest fear I have with all this technology around us.

Are we swapping out the greeting card or phone call of support to friends for the Facebook wall view of people you would normally TALK to and CONNECT with?

There is no doubt that Facebook, text messages, etc. have their places in our lives.  They are convenient ways to check in with each other in our all too busy, hustle, bustle world we are in. When I posted my blue mood on my Wall this past Sunday, there was a flurry of people encouraging me and even one surprise guest in my chat box sharing with me a Tao website that I never knew about.  I had no idea how many people checked out my Facebook page and certainly no idea how much those words would mean to me – instantly.

Then it reminded me also, how much I treasure that special note that comes to me in my mailbox (you know the one on your street?), the flowers picked for me out of my friend Marion’s garden that she brought to my office.  The last note I got was from my friend Katy.  I was so touched but her taking the time to buy a card and write me a personal note.

Isn’t that what it is all about anyway?  TIMEConnecting?

We all know time is so precious and the 24 hour day is non-negotiable, but it is “time” that you can share with someone that is truly precious. You are saying, “You matter to me. I care about you.”

So the next time you poke around on Facebook, leave a note behind, just because you see my Wall Post, doesn’t mean I know that you cared enough to think of me and type in my name to see what I have been up to.

Be spontaneous. When you see a friend’s car in the parking lot somewhere – take out a piece of paper (or grab that empty McDonald’s bag in your own car) and write a note and put it under the windshield wiper. Or pick up the phone – WHEN you think of it and even if they arent there, leave a message telling them you were thinking of them. Leave some “footprints” of yourself behind and I promise it will make you feel as warm and as special as it does them!

I promise my next post will be less philosophical and more “brilliant” (ha ha!) and more to the objective of this blog, to be helpful in choosing technology that works for you in your life.  But sometimes technology is just that.  We are humans and we all need hugs, all the gadgets in the world will ever change that!