Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twitter hits the NBA Floor!

See the floor?  
The Boston @celtics painted their Twitter address on the basketball floor, so fans can easily communicate with them on and off the court.  I love it.  Great job!  Who's next?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ZaZa Voom!

At the ZaZa Hotel look what greets you in bed... 
Here's a closer look... 
Does it make you smile like it did me?  Thank my husband, Matt, for sending me the photo.  He knew it would thrill me.

I appreciate this non-corporatey anti-cookie cutter feel from ZaZa.  This type of connection with the customer is what I personally respond to very well.   Yes, I want the pillow and sets the tone for wanting more of the same from the rest of the hotel.

I immediately jumped on the social networks to see if ZaZa Hotel had the same kind of charm and cleverness online.  Their Facebook page is... hold on to your chair...  automated to their Twitter page too. *Gasp*.  Sadly, they are not social at all on the Twitter account despite looking like they would have a charismatic voice online with plenty to chat about.  It's a shame too because they could be having a lot of fun with that account.   

I'll try not to hold it against them.  I like this pillow way too much to turn away from them.  Go where the people are and kick it up a notch online ZaZa Hotel.  You're just what a lot of us are looking for.  A hotel with personality.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What @GovSamBrownback and @EmmaKate988 Taught Us About Social Networking

While social networking for businesses all day, every day, I have seen plenty of the good, the bad and the ugly on Twitter.  In light of 18 yr old high school senior, Emma Sullivan's recent disparaging tweet, while at the Kansas Youth in Government in Topeka, KS allegedly during a school field trip for Shawnee Mission East (I'm an SME graduate), I couldn't help be take an interest.

The tweet: "Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person. #heblowsalot"

Thoughtless Tweet by Teen + Bad Response from Governor's Office = Train Wreck I had to watch

Now that the dust is beginning to settle, I can only hope everyone, and I mean everyone, learned a few lessons.

1. This is probably the most important lesson - what you post on social networks is out there for EVERYONE. (even if it's a private account, someone else can retweet it and it POW, it's out there again.)  Emma said "that tweet was for my audience."  Her account was open and not private.  Therefore anyone could view it.  I'm constantly surprised people still think those following them only see their info. Like Emma, many people simply forget how this works. So I'm equally as surprised when they get upset.  It's like the girl who wears the super short mini skirt and then gets mad when we stop and stare and blurts out "what are you looking at?!". If it was meant for her friends, then stay where only your friends are. Don't go out in the community, the city, the world and not expect others to see it too.  Wear something appropriate to Twitter's social nonstop party.

2.  Businesses (even politicians offices) should be "listening" online and responding with answers, solutions, all around helpful information or merely just to the let the person know they were "heard".   In this case, Brownback's staff failed miserably.  Sadly they acted like a teenager themselves and contacted Emma's principal, Dr. Krawitz to turn her in.  If it were me working Brownback's account, I would have looked at Emma Sullivan's Twitter profile @EmmaKate988 first, checked out the character of her tweets she historically makes (which are filled with tweets about Twilight and Justin Bieber, no surprises there) and saw she had 65 followers who are more than likely students too and not online at that time.  I also would have noted there was no meat to her tweet. She wasn't blasting a policy or pending bill or anything about Kansas. She was bored and made a ridiculous hashtag #heblowsalot  that no one else was using and it more than likely would not catch on. It has now though.  She did tweet a lie however, and that would have made me raise an eyebrow. Did she really sock it to Brownback verbally?  I would have replied back with something positive to turn the tone around, perhaps "We're glad you came to the Capital today.  How's the experience?"   We're not taking the bait but letting her know she was "heard" and more importantly, that we were "listening".  I would have done nothing more with it if she would not have responded.  Safe to say, she would NOT have responded.

3.  Tweet something positive or constructive and if you just can't, then don't tweet.   Truly. There's no need for nasty, cursing, condescending or hateful remarks.  Really.  Hate is a cancer and it can spread.  Sure those kinds of remarks are all covered in our First Amendment for Freedom of Speech, but it's primarily bad mojo.  Why do that to yourself?  There's a lot of entertaining snark on Twitter and some at the expense of celebrities. It's a fine line and those people who partake with hate, do it as a persona on a regular  basis.  As a general rule of thumb, keep it clean and remember your integrity and character develops with every tweet you create and ultimately post.

4.  When  you "listen" online, make sure legitimate inquiries know they were "heard".   I personally have tweeted @GovSamBrownback with questions regarding legislation for public schools in Kansas and have never had a response.  I figured the account was abandoned or automated (which I can't stand) with broadcast announcements that had no intention to see what the responses to those posts would be.  Imagine my surprise and disappointment to find that Brownback's office responded to Emma's absolutely ridiculous tweet.  So is this how I need to get heard?   Brownback's staff is teaching us "YES",  this is what they react to.   What a shame.  Think of the missed opportunities to build relationships and build rapport with constituents.  Better yet, building a fan base.

There are more lessons and reminders, but these resonated the most with me.  The need to help tweens and teens manage their online reputations is imperative.  We can't just continue to throw them out there in cybersphere and not set expectations or best practices.  Parents and mentors need to set guidelines and monitor online activity as often as possible and let the child know this is what will happen.  Be helpful.  The skill to communicate effectively online is the opportunity we have as a parent.

at the time of this post, Emma Sullivan's Twitter account @EmmaKate988 is no longer in service. Last report of followers was over 16,000.   Governor Brownback's page has just over 3,300.

What social media lessons do you hope were learned during this Twitter train wreck?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Party Hardy and Capture It Like This

Gawd I love a great party pic!  
Are you having a holiday party this season?  Well you'll have to plan on having a homemade "photo booth".  

It's basically a specific area for photos to be taken of your guests.  It's a consistent background for everyone, so it lets the objects of the photo really take center stage. 

It couldn't be easier.  Staging could be as simple as a quilt or blanket on a clothesline in the backyard... 
or a mock wall with wallpaper
or how about picture frames to peekaboo through...  
or picture frames to hold...
and don't forget other props, like these!  How great would these be for Thanksgiving?
easiest of all would be the simple butcher paper on the wall declaring the event.

I think people would  most certainly rise to the occasion and ham it up nicely.  You may need to hire a photographer or a friend with a great camera to take the shots for  a specific amount of time. Heck even one of today's phones would work beautifully and you could easily post the pics to a site, like Flickr, PicPlz, Pinterest or perhaps Instagram.  Share it with the world!

What a fun keepsake for your guests and for you, the party host.

Happy holiday partying!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Well Kept Secret in the 'Hood

This is a garden near my neighborhood.
I particularly enjoy it, because it isn't typical to other gardens in my neighborhood or even my city.
It's big into handmade structural pieces and recycled items.
It's not large but still has winding paths made from grass or rocks or shells or handmade paving stones.
The best compliment it could have ever received, was my 9 yr old moody daughter saying "I could stay in here all day."

It's a lovely reminder to do things different, or at the very least, find your own voice and do them YOUR WAY.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Look at the Big Guys Acting Like Little Guys!

I love this.  Thank you to the gardening supplier of my neighborhood Home Depot for adding QR codes to their plant tags!  

This is typical of the smaller braver businesses that are cutting edge and not stuck in some fuddy duddy corporate culture from 30 years ago. 


Monday, August 22, 2011

AWK! It's Not That Hard!

I adore the small details of great customer service and a great sale.  Like saying "My pleasure" as opposed to "No problem".  I particularly like good eye contact during a transaction or from any one on one time with an employee or representative. Oh and a great listener!  Don't you?   

I was reminded recently, to use a few of my Groupon coupons, by Groupon (thank you the email) and got on the horn to make arrangements.  One of the businesses, who willing opted their company in for a Groupon deal left me with my jaw dropped in stunned silence.

Lame O biz rep, "Good morning, how can I help you?"
Me, "Hi!  I was reminded by Groupon that the coupon I got with you all is about to expire.  I'd like to set that appointment up before it's too late."
Lame O biz rep, as she put the phone down and possibly talking to another co-worker, "Oh gawd... another f_ cking Groupon!".  She turned the phone over to a scheduler.

Really?  REALLY? 

I tried to shake off the unwelcome response from the Groupon business and headed to lunch with a client.  We met up at Johnny's Tavern in the Power & Light District in KC, MO and got Mary, as our server. She was attentive, chipper, looked my lunch date and I in the eyes, she seemed happy to be there and happy to serve us.  In the end, she wrote a few things on my To Go box to help me out... "Johnny's" and the date (very helpful info, especially since most to go boxes look alike) and a short note thanking us for coming in and to come back soon. Whew!  A biz that does care and showed me they do.

It took her less than 10 seconds for her to do what she did, but the thoughtfulness has had me talking about it for days.  See how easy that was?  It's not that hard to make people happy.

What have you done lately for your clients or your family to show them in a simple way you care?  It was a great reminder for me.  The lunch sack napkin notes to my kids are in full swing.

Here's Mary...  she was showing us the new low cal drink menu.  Johnny's must be thrilled with her. We were.  (picture taken while checking in on Foursquare)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sparks are Good!

I have a new and improved logo.  Hopefully you get it, because if I have to explain it, well... that's a fail.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You know Where To Find Me...

I find the more I'm online in my social networks, the less my phone rings...

and the less email I receive...   

Communication evolution...  go where the people are.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Creepy or Cool?

I was driving home from Easter dinner last night and saw this in a nearby neighborhood... 
I dropped the family off, drove back and took a picture.   

I love that someone nearby took the time and had the interest enough to dress these two up for the holiday.  The attention to pretty details is what made me smile.

Yes, yes, I realize this might rub some people the wrong way.  My grandma used to put knit caps on her statues of children. As a child, I loved it. As an adult, I still do. Although, I do cross  the line at raincoats on duck statues.  I have hesitated dressing up my own statues in my yard.  I have however, put witches hats on the heads of my statues INSIDE my house at Halloween.  Was this something old people with nothing but time on their hands did?  Would I look crazy old if I did this?  I realize after seeing these two, there really are no rules as to how you decorate them and dagnabit, they bring a smile to my face every time.  

I should have made bunny ears.  My grade school age children would have loved it too.  So would my dogs.  They'd rip them off and shred the ears in 10 seconds flat.  

I drove further through the 'hood and promptly ran into this one.
I smiled wider knowing this person made multiple efforts to reach even more people with her visions of Bunniness.

Yes the gnomey looking guy is creepy, buck teeth and all, but somehow, the ears make him more approachable.  Is this an uber cute idea or does it creep you out?  

Friday, March 18, 2011

“Doing your best in this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” - Oprah Winfrey

Amp up your knowledge base about what you do or what you love to do.  I'm always looking for what's next in social media and branding online.  It's changing like a revolving door and it appears unable to slow down.  It's also what makes it incredibly exciting and interesting!

Whether it's finding out more about your industry/interests or simply reaching out to meet more people within it, commit to being the best you can be.  You'll find more luck flows your way.  

Luck: When preparation meets opportunity

Thanks Diva.Com for the Oprah quote reminder

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Should See My Hair Today!

Perk #63 of working from home:  Bad hair days are no big deal.  In fact, they are a great source of amusement.
Nothing a bandana can't fix.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PJ's and a Coat

This morning at 7:45AM, in my pajamas, I threw on my coat and took my children to school.

I just brought my kids home from school, and it hit me I have spent the entire in between time in my pajamas WITH my coat on, in my home office working. Online.  

The pull of what I do... social networking and social media...  AWK!  I love it!  Hypnotizing.
Is this a perk or con of working from home?  Perk.  Most employers wouldn't appreciate my wardrobe today.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My First Time...

I've been thinking about my "first time" lately.  I was only 13.  Here's how it went:
Teenagers today share one major similarity of when I was a teen... talking on the phone.  I was just telling my grade school aged children about how I used to be able to call (816) 444-1212 to hear the local time and temperature. (Thanks United MO Bank!)  
As much as I was a weather fanatic, (growing up in Kansas, you become one) the best part of that phone number was... it was a PARTY LINE!  You could hear the other callers talking and laughing and connecting with others. Sometimes it was really busy, like right after school and in the evening.  Despite the onslaught of chatter, you'd hear kids shouting out their telephone numbers in hopes someone hears them and calls them back directly!   You had to talk fast and cut right to the meat of your message (like Twitter) because sometimes time (space) was limited.   Other times, you could just hang out for hours chatting it up with now new and current friends. (like Facebook)

*gasp* What were our parents thinking letting us shout out our phone numbers to strangers!?   Ha!

Nonetheless, it was fun.  Really fun!  I remember being in 7th grade and yelling "My friends and I will be at the 2 o'clock session at Coachlight Skating today!  Be there!". 5 People heard my invitation and showed up that afternoon at Coachlight Skating Rink.  Strangers... but it didn't feel that way. We met up for many more afternoons over the next year and our circle of friends grew with us.   All 5 who heard that invitation on that day, I can contact today, for we became quick friends. 
KaPOW! That was officially my first meet up.  
It was also my first experience with successful social networking.  
I think even then, I realized the value of what was happening. 
 When did your FIRST social networking experience happen?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sh*t Eatin' Grin

This is a follow-up to my last post Damn These Kids Are Lucky and the bulldog mural was almost complete. Now it is... and it's perfect.  Like a 4th grade boy with a sh*t eatin' grin on his face, full of confidence and laughter.

Thanks Jan, your Hallmark Card's co-worker, Susann, Marnie, Lori, Lindsay and our Principal Steve, for not waiting for red tape  to get approved to improve the entrance of the school.

PS:  If you're wondering what the difference is... this one has outlines throughout. Painting brick s*cks.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Damn These Kids are Lucky

Over the last two days I've witnessed this rock'n piece of artwork go up on a bland dusty 45 year old brick elementary school foyer wall.
A volunteer designed it. 
A volunteer painted it. 
A volunteer made the gazillion colorful flags on the ceiling. 
A few more volunteers taped off and painted the colorful side boxes and several more added eye candy in the large foyer.  

Now, I stand here... hands resting on my hips... shift my weight to one leg... slowly turn my head to the side... squint my eyes... take a deep breath... and I look at this painting and say "Damn these kids are lucky".
Thank you volunteers for being wired the way you are!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

3 Guys Walk Into a Hot Tub...

I spent some time in Keystone, Colorado this last week.  One late afternoon, I'm soaking my sore shins, from skiing, in the outdoor hot tub at The Timbers.  3 Nice looking guys got in too.  They look about their mid 40's, well built, carrying cans of beer (and a few back ups) and are very chatty.  It's easy to start up a conversation in a hot tub, so we did.

Turns out, they all 3 have been serving several years in Afghanistan as engineers, either with the military or as a contractor. Funny thing was, they didn't know the other was there until they found each other on FACEBOOK  These 3 guys grew up within a few blocks of each other and hadn't seen the others since the summer after high school graduation.

They asked the military for some time off, went back to Alabama, met up with their families and took them all skiing.  They were clearly happy to be together and their conversations were filled with loud laughter (the kind you throw your head back and slap your knee about)  and big smiles.  My kind of guys.

I thanked them for their service and then they wormed their way further into my heart with the following toast:  "We love Facebook!"

Cheers to that!