Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bloggers blog, bosses boss

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The title of the article says it all - Utah Education Blogger Says He Was Fired For 'Promoting A Gay Agenda' After Writing About Homophones.  The blogger in question is Tim Torkildson, and he wrote about the firing in another blog, of course - The Homophones Got Me! A Record of a Recent Firing.  In the manner of a journalist, he wrote in clear, plain language about the firing, especially the exchange between him and his boss.  Then he slipped into wonderful, novelistic language:
He rose, shook my hand, and left the conference room where we had been sitting. 
I was out the door, at the bus stop, by 11:05. 
After depositing my check at the bank I walked home along the Provo River Path. It was warm, but isolated thunderheads kept the sun in check. The river is low and smells of sewers. Trout are frantically leaping up the spillway by the Columbia Lane Bridge. Dozens of swallows have built their nests under the bridge; they describe wide, frantic circles and give high peeps when they land at their mud-daubed nests. It was pleasant to stop there – now that I have all the time in the world again. 
Further along the path is a wild cherry tree growing up from the bank of the river. Underneath the cherry tree is a green wire bench installed by the Parks and Recreation Department. I sat down to rest there. The cherries are dead ripe and falling onto the pathway, where they are mashed by pedestrians and bicyclists. Wasps stay busy feeding on the sweet pulp. A homeless man, shouldering a towering backpack, his white beard stained brown with tobacco juice, came striding by, stepping right into the pulp and riling the wasps. One of them stung him. He turned to me, holding up a tree branch he was using as a walking stick, and cried “You bit me!” 
I did not try to defend myself. Somehow, it seemed just about right – done in by a crazy old bum with a tree branch. But he lowered it slowly and turned back to his odyssey, mumbling obscenities. I continued to sit there another ten minutes, then slowly got up and went back to my room underneath the basement steps of a friend’s house, where I am writing this. I promised him I would be out of his house by the end of August. Maybe I should have followed the bum; he seemed to know where he was going. 
When one door closes, it’s usually right on your fingers.
If he hasn't yet, Torkildson ought to write a novel.  He has a talent for it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Give Google+ a try, if you haven't yet

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If you wonder why there aren't any ads on Google+, it's because Google cares more about the data we generate.  It has a vast ecosystem, as you may know, and our information drives its formidable ad business model across that ecosystem.  That said, I love Google+.  It's easily the most active and engaging social media I know.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Grant Hill and Milana Vayntrub do AT&T

Grant Hill was a celebrated basketball player, coming out of Duke University 20 years ago and breaking into the NBA with the Detroit Pistons.  But a nagging ankle injury a few years into his career must've been more serious than even he expected, and spent the rest of his big league days in relative obscurity among three teams.  He retired just last year, but his appearance in this commercial is my favorite among an awesome set of AT&T commercials.  Oh, good for you obviously taps that relative obscurity.    

Milana Vayntrub is the actress who plays the AT&T sales lady Lily Adams.  She's articulate and attractive in very natural, unforced ways, and that's her appeal.  I found out that she's actually a comedic actress, and a good one at that, because she pulls off terrific timing and delivery on her lines.  Her humor is of course subtle and demure, because of her business role for AT&T.  But here she is in a more colorful sketch in Bitchy Resting Face.     

Grant Hill and Milana Vayntrub

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tap emotions + offer information = lend impact

This is why focusing on "edu-tainment" is something that produces results for those of us that work in the coaching/training niches.
Kimberly Brink-Castleberry posted this chart and note on Google+ last month, and it's curious.  When we write an article in our blog, for example, we ought to keep in mind its emotional tone and impact.  Sometimes the subject or story carries a certain emotion with it, and that's what prompts us to write about it. In other words, the prompt is external.  Sometimes, too, there is an idea we have, which is laden with emotions, so we craft an article around it all and thus convey these emotions.  In this case, the prompt is internal.

The reason it's curious is that smart marketers, advertisers and salespeople tap into our emotional tendency, for example, by creating content that is geared for this very thing.  In the meantime a load of ads, some trickily positioned, surround that content (e.g., article).  Brink-Castleberry's reference to edu-tainment is an important one: An article that offers solid information or learning, while lending emotional impact and advertising responsibly will, I'd like to believe, serve that company, organization or brand the best.  Otherwise simply hijacking our emotions is ultimately a turnoff.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Social media options for busy CEOs

Elon Musk

A paltry number of Fortune 500 CEOs aren't active on Twitter, and in his article The Social CEO in Crisis Allan Gates makes a good case for more of them to get with the program.  I'm sure these CEOs have a host of reasons why they've chosen to lay low or to side step social media.  But if they feel it is important, there are options for them to get involved and none of these options have to be an all-or-nothing proposition.  Gates zeroes in only on those who are directly active, but any CEO can hire a staff or small team to cover what he or she does and says and post that on whatever social media makes sense.  Short videos are simple enough to create, and they can be posted in no time.  That staff or team can also keep a pulse on their target audience, respond accordingly to comments, and otherwise forge good brand experience.

If certain CEOs simply don't appreciate social media, or see its vital emergence in modern day business and culture, and he or she is simply not open to alternative views or practical suggestions, then so be it.  It is inevitable that they will move on, and pass away, and there is a good bet that their successors will have an entirely different sentiment about social media.  I don't see the merit of coercing them, directly from within their organization or indirectly from outside circles.  But again if they're even halfway amenable, there are options that are workable vis-a-vis their personality, schedule and values.  If they admire what Elon Musk does, then perhaps they can let his social media efforts motivate and guide them.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ways to monetize your website or blog

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I often see Wix ads on Facebook, and had I not already discovered and used Intuit (now Homestead) for my websites, I would have given it a go.  Besides being a user-friendly, do-it-yourself platform for creating a website, Wix also offer a broader ecosystem to help us succeed with our business or brand.  On this note, 5 Monetization Opportunities for Your Wix Website:
  1. Install Google AdSense
  2. Add the Fiverr app
  3. Create an online store
  4. Participate in an affiliate program
  5. Sell digital products
Let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Always redefines "like a girl" positively

Using #LikeAGirl as an insult is a hard knock against any adolescent girl. And since the rest of puberty's really no picnic either, it's easy to see what a huge impact it can have on a girl's self-confidence. 
We're kicking off an epic battle to make sure that girls everywhere keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond, and making a start by showing them that doing it #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing. 
"In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand," said Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker and director of the #LikeAGirl video. "When the words 'like a girl' are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine 'like a girl' into a positive affirmation." 
So tell us... what do YOU do #LikeAGirl? 
For the past 30 years, Always has been empowering girls globally, bringing puberty education to millions of adolescent girls.
Run like a girl.  Throw like a girl.  Fight like a girl.

Wow this is a moving, illuminating campaign on how we diminish girls and consequently the women that they become.  I love ads that find the exquisite balance between business and conscience, and deftly navigate the thrust to make money and the call to do good.  Kudos to Always!

Monday, July 7, 2014

How rich, complex and ennobling social media is

Is It Just Me?
Here's an interpretive glimpse at my random thoughts on social media lately...meaningful interaction seems to have fizzled out, and previously enjoyable connections and the general feel for me, have since metastasized into a cancerous version of it's previous self. An apocalyptically edited #carshot I took while rolling through Indy last December kind of sums up the landscape here for me these days. 
That, or I'm just grouchy and affected by barometric migraines or the waxing of the moon.
Signing off until I have something positive to say. 
waves bye 
We're made up of energy, so who's to say you can't transmit through electrical means? If you could transmit yourself wirelessly, then it's Armageddon pretty much.
~Ian Somerhalder
BobbieZen posted this image and note two months ago, and I was captivated.

One of her friends noted:
Although I agree with you that the landscape of G has changed, but I more feel it is because the landscape of the world has. We are at a very precarious and scary time of this world, and it reflects in peoples posts, their fear and anxiety 
I think you leaving is wrong, I will miss you
To which she responded:
I'm not 'leaving', I'm just signing out. 
I don't want to contribute to that very feeling which is keeping me from wanting to be here. I think a few days off is healthy. 
I certainly felt better the past two days not signing on at all than I do checking notifications and feeling pressured to respond. See y'all later. xo
The fact that BobbieZen could relate her distemper with social media, and express it creatively in an image, speaks volumes about how astute and articulate she is.  At the same time, she speaks to an irony: Social media is truly a fine place in which to work out that distemper, and in so doing she deftly regains meaningful interaction and connection.

If you're a business or brand owner, this post may be too abstract or dour for your purpose.  I hope it is not.  It's meant to show you how rich, how complex, and how ennobling social media can be.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Meticulous attention to Disney Blogs

Disney Blogs

I read Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, by the Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni, and I was thoroughly impressed with the meticulous attention and care Disney puts into its brand and its parks in particular.  It's positively breath-taking from a business standpoint, and also chest-tightening, I'm sure, from a staffing standpoint.  I met one of their training managers two years ago, and this was a book she handed out at that networking event.

So it is no surprise, I guess, that despite the wild-and-woolly nature of social media and rampant blogs, Disney deploys that same obsessive-compulsive eye on its bloggers and what they write about.  They cast a fanatic look at making sure their guests have the most positive experience ever.  Google seems to be at the opposite end, where its awesome product galore, that I'm very grateful for, virtually lacks any customer assistance.  

To each its own, of course.  Decide for yourself how much attention and care to put into your brand vis-a-vis the endgame of your business or organization.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Verizon knows she's pretty brilliant

"Our words can have a huge impact. Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too? Encourage her love of science and technology and inspire her to change the world."-- Reshma Saujani, Founder of Girls Who Code. 
The United States has fallen significantly behind the rest of the world when it comes to the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Just as startling is that girls are even less involved in STEM majors and careers than their male counterparts, as women hold less than 25% of our country's STEM jobs. Working together, let's encourage more girls to get involved with STEM and choose careers that build a brighter future.
I posted this Verizon promotional video on Google+ recently:

If you're a parent, a teacher, or a coach, I hope you don't say these things to girls in your life.

My wife and I have a 15-year old daughter, and we've done our best, since even before she was born, to nurture her, protect her, and encourage her.  For instance, we'd talk to her, caress her, and read to her, while she was still in the womb.  Along the way, we've emphasized school, and activities, and friendships, and we are so blessed to have just a fine young lady in our lives.

So the message in this video is disturbing to me, and thankfully there is no such issue with our daughter.  I hope, however, that many other parents, teachers and coaches heed its powerful message, and change their remarks, if not attitude, in relation to girls.