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Life is a Balancing Act

It’s been a little over a week since returning from Mexico where Chris from Design4Real.net and I worked at Posada Yum Kin Hotel in Tulum, Mexico on a fun little website update. It feels like a lifetime ago and in some ways it has been for me. This is kind of a weird story for me to write and you’ll find that it is unlike my other posts, being personal in nature. The lesson is simple, life is a balancing act.balancing act

For those of us engaging in social media promotion the pressure is on to openly share so many details of our lives, so we can better ‘connect’ with our community. How do we do that and remain true to ourselves? How do we reserve any element of privacy? I’m not a ‘dramatic’ person, how can I keep life’s speedbumps from sounding overly dramatic if I write about it online? Increasingly, we are challenged with what to ‘share’ and what to keep private. Recently, the Zuckerberg’s (of Facebook) faced this challenge on their honeymoon. As a case in point, I am facing this challenge now, as I decide how and what to communicate. My goal? To keep it balanced.

Many of you have been asking about our trip and, for that, I think this little ‘news’ report will be helpful, mainly because I won’t have to retell the story several times which suits me just fine. This post started as a ‘live’ case study about our business project, but on this trip it became, oh, so much more personal.

We had a great time working hard and getting things done. Read about our week at Keeping Your Website Real. But, this story on findng the ‘balance’ actually begins as we headed on our way home. Little did I know that while we were getting things done on our ‘to do’ list and spending a little time at the beach that I had something BIG working against me.

Unknowingly, in the weeks before going to Mexico, I had contracted a bacterial infection. As spring brings in allergies, I believed I was just battling a recurring eye-allergy. Using over-the-counter-meds, I thought it was under control and put the whole matter to the back of my mind.

While we were in Tulum and as we became more active, I became very dehydrated. I struggled to keep up with our quick pace, but just put it off to our irregular schedule. As we traveled home, I was so thirsty; I drank anything I could get my hands on. Since I was dehydrated, I sought out highly caloric beverages with lots of electrolytes, etc. As we had started our travel day at about 2:30am, I believed that I merely had jet lag and dehydration and, once home, would feel better quickly. After I got home, I proceeded to sleep for about 24-48 hours straight through. Lucky for me, mom and my hubby, Tom, took matters into their hands and insisted that I go to the doctor.

What the doc found was 1- the infection, 2- dehydration, and 3- a life-changing diagnosis of Diabetes. Drinking the ‘rehydrating’ beverages had driven my blood sugar levels as high as 636. That’s close to the point of having some serious damage and I can tell you first hand that I have never felt so disoriented and simple-minded. Long story short, it took 4 agonizing days in the hospital to rehydrate and get my blood sugar count in line. Now, it has been another 4 days just to learn how to balance my blood levels.

On the Beach

I was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, which my doctor tells me means that my body had some type of virus in the last month or two and signaled to my brain that something was wrong. My body ‘killed’ off the ability for my pancreas to create insulin. I understand I am now termed a ‘Type 1 1/2 diabetic’ and will probably need insulin the rest of my life to balance my blood sugar levels.

As everyone says, “this is a life-changing event”. I’m hearing that refrain a lot these days. I feel caught between two country music songs. Toby Keith’s “It’s about me”, set against the track of Tim McGraw’s “My next 30 years”. It’ll take a bit of time to find my ‘new normal’, but I’m getting there.

Things I took for granted, the automatic adjustment of my blood sugars, now require routine monitoring and adjustment. Learning to balance things better. That’s my goal. Sometimes it’s your health, sometimes it’s your relationships -both on and offline. In the end, taking the time to balance it all out, will be for the better.

Life is indeed a balancing act.

 

 

Have a Merry Flash Mob Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, Journey of Faith of Manhattan Beach, California gathered at a local Galleria Shopping Mall to lead a flash mob in the best possible way. Enjoy!

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

StringHub –Where Educators, Students and Startups Meet

Article first published as StringHub –Where Educators, Students and Startups Meet on Technorati.

As a guest writer, Technorati published my first article last week, which is shown below. I found it a great compliment to be asked to write for Tehnorati. After all, Technorati, the very first search engine for blogs, is considered the gold standard, with an index of more than one million blogs. Let me know what you think…

I always get excited about finding cool new ways to help small and medium-sized businesses solve one of their greatest challenges – lack of resources. Introducing… StringHub.StringHub graphic

StringHub is attempting to tackle this resource challenge by linking instructors and professors with businesses via student projects. In fact, this equation promises to help everyone including our sagging economy. Businesses will receive valuable help they need from inspiring artists and professionals and students will receive the opportunity to take part in ‘real-life’ business situations.

I recently met Adam Hoeksema, co-founder of StringHub, online and found his passion and insights to be inspiring. Adam’s innovative thinking promises to drive educational institutions everywhere to adapting Internet technologies to create a more meaningful, far-reaching impact, while introducing their students to the art of entrepreneurship. The concept was Adam’s brainchild, but taking it online required a team effort. Adam is the business, marketing and finance guy in this partnership. The Internet technology, namely their website StringHub.com, was created by his brother and co-founder, Brandon, who is actually still in high school. A self-taught programmer, Brandon has done a remarkable job with the website. It’s a simple, clean interface that allows educators to submit class projects to be matched with businesses in need.

I asked Adam about the background and details surrounding StringHub.com and here’s what he had to say:

Adam, how and why did the idea of StringHub.com occur to you?
“I graduated from Taylor University in May of 2010 with a degree in accounting. In June, I started as Client Services Manager at the Flagship Enterprise Center, a business incubator in Anderson, Indiana. As I worked with our clients at the Flagship Enterprise Center, I realized that startup companies need a lot of help. They need help with graphic and web design, social media, video production, public relations, web application development, and the list could go on. There are college students working on class projects in all of these areas, but typically the projects have no real world application. The projects simply go to waste; they are just for practice. We thought if we could unlock the real world value of student class projects we could create a win-win situation for both businesses and students.”

What is StringHub’s mission?
“I want StringHub to fundamentally change the way that college and university class projects work. I believe that the best way for students to learn something is to try and fail in the real world. You can’t do that through case studies, or projects for imaginary businesses. So first and foremost we want to help improve the educational experience for students. At the same time, we want to help small businesses flourish, add jobs, and create wealth. Those are lofty goals, but we believe it is possible.”

What type of projects would StringHub.com participate in?
“Currently there are millions of student class projects in areas like:
▪ Marketing
▪ Public Relations
▪ Business Management
▪ Graphic Design
▪ Web Development
▪ Social Media
▪ Finance
And many more subjects

Typically these projects just go to waste. They are ‘practice.’ http://stringhub.com is attempting to create a platform that unlocks the real world value of these student class projects in order to help support entrepreneurs.

Many of these class projects could be free to the entrepreneur. We believe that a focused approach can really accelerate a startup. Imagine an army of students all supporting an innovative, world changing startup company.”

What do students gain from this?
By connecting student projects with real world applications students are gaining:
▪ Real world experience
▪ A professional portfolio of completed work
▪ Relationships with a network of potential employers

For example, Adam refers to an integrated marketing plan created for HeatMax, Inc. at the University of Arizona. Four University of Arizona students helped to create a new product line called Toastie Toes that helps women keep their feet warm in cold weather. Their professor, Hope Jensen Schau matches student teams with companies to work on projects like packaging, distribution, advertising and public relations. The four students in question have earned local fame and have also been contracted to continue their work with HeatMax, Inc.

Overall, the University of Arizona example is the same model that StringHub.com will employ. It is a web-based platform that allows tech schools, colleges and universities to unlock the real world value of student class projects, by connecting student projects with opportunities, and managing the entire project through an online workroom.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!

Be Smart with Smartphones

So much of being safe in life is about just being smart and using common sense. While traveling would you leave your purse sitting openly in the front seat of a locked car? Would you venture out in an area that you don’t know after midnight?

These same rules apply with new technologies like smartphones. Several of the major networks have been running stories on privacy issues resulting from new GPS ‘smart’ technology known as ‘geotagging’. Geotagging is the type of technology that smartphones use to track people’s locations. It is the technology that sites like Foursquare use as people ‘check-in’ to restaurants and businesses. Taking advantage of this technology also requires a new level of learning for people about their devices. Be responsible, take the time to learn what your technology is actually doing and what it all requires to be safe.

Here’s a short video from NBC Action News on the downside of uploading pictures.

Don’t Panic!

Although it makes for a good story on network news, there really is no reason to panic. I attempted to find the GPS coordinates on several of my pictures. I found that it is not so easy. Now, I know that preditors and nutcases will sometimes go to any means, but I’m not convinced that even though, it’s possible, that there is a very high likelihood.

Use Safe Sites

That said, Facebook and Twitter have started stripping the metadata automatically from uploaded pictures, so there is some level of safety there. Be sure your privacy settings are set correctly.

Turn Off the Setting!

The easiest way to stop posting your location is to set your phone so your camera doesn’t log your location. It’s usually done by going to Settings> General > Location Services. Phones vary so if you can’t find it check out your user guide or check with your smartphone store. Some phones allow you to turn off just the geotagging on your photos and some may require you to turn off you geotagging altogether.

For more information about setting your phone correctly, check out I Can Stalk You’s information on protecting your information.

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

The Coffee Party Anyone? Howard Schultz of Starbucks

Today we’re a bit off-topic from our usual coverage on the impact of social media and how it can be easily and affordably integrated into small and medium-sized businesses. We’re talking politics. Oops. And even though we’re not really talking about politics –we are sort of talking about politics. Or maybe we’re talking about citizenship. Why? Because as a social media website that fundamentally supports small and medium-sized business, it is time. Small business owners need to pay attention. Let’s start with a cup of coffee.

Howard Schultz has done it again. The master of brand awareness and Starbucks CEO has taken on a new challenge, completely unrelated to coffee, in trying to lead the country out of this fiscal fiasco.

Like a dog chasing its tail, the economy is flat, and because of that lack of confidence, no one is hiring, causing the economy to decline further. Meanwhile, trillions of dollars sit idle in corporation lockboxes worldwide waiting for someone to say “Go!”. That someone is Mr. Schultz.

Mr. Schultz and business leaders of many major companies have joined together to make a one-two punch on America’s economy, jobs and politicians. One – in an ambitious endeavor to cut off significant funding for America’s politicians, they will no longer contribute to political campaigns. They will withhold funds until a ‘fair bi-partisan long-term fiscal plan’ is created and in place. Two – they will start hiring employees. They will do this as a show of confidence in America, they believe that once hiring begins, the economy will improve.

And they’re using social media to add to its potential for success. It started as a news release, then quickly gravitated to Facebook. Last Tuesday evening, the partner organization NoLabels.org hosted a ‘town hall’ meeting with Mr. Schultz.

Talk to you after the show.

Live broadcast by Ustream

I applaud you, Howard. It’s refreshing. Just in case you passed up the video above because of it’s length, here’s the highlights.

Here are some supporting organizations and links you can check out on this movement.

NoLabels.org

Facebook NoLabels.org

UpwardSpiral2011

And here are what others are saying online:

Joe Nocera of The OpinionPages (New York Times)

Kristen Breitweiser of Equity News

Dannielle Blumenthal of The Customer Collective

Rosabeth Moss Kanter –blogger on Harvard Business Review

And on Google+

I agree with this movement and think it’s vital that the citizens of America create enough pressure to CHANGE things. Mr. Schultz says that one of the keys is in establishing a bi-partisan movement. And as a disclaimer, I’d like to say that I am the one everyone wants to entice to their side –an independent, white, woman (blogger) from the Midwest. If you get me, you get your core followers. But I have a question.

Why not join forces with the Tea Party?

Now, I know that some say that the Tea Party is not bi-partisan. That they are made up mostly of white, conservative men and that may or may not be true, but their message and the message of the Schultz/NoLabels/UpwardSpiral2011 movement is similar –really similar. Right? If not, then what am I missing? Why not find some way, some middle ground, to join forces with the Tea Party in what you are trying to accomplish? Seems like you’re re-inventing the wheel. Unless, as some are saying, the Schultz/NoLabels/UpwardSpiral2011 is really the liberal answer to the conservation Tea Party movement and bi-partisanship is just another buzzword. I don’t know if this is true, I’m just a skeptical blogger, stirring up the pot. The coffee pot. Or tea pot -doesn’t matter to me. Come on… just make friends –we all need to bond together if we want to win this thing.

In the meantime- I’m in. We’ll work out the kinks as we go -it’s the new way of life. How about you? What do you think? If you support this and are a blogger, I encourage you to blog in support. If you’re a small to medium-sized business owner, hold your money and hire as soon as you can. Everyone should join the cause and participate, make a difference, lend a voice!

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

Social Energizer’s Salute to Labor Day

As we come into this long Labor Day weekend, I thought I’d share something that I found on CreditDonkey of all places. I love these graphic pieces – so full of fun. The only thing missing is in the title. I would have liked it to say “Celebrate the American Worker on Labor Day”. It says it down below in the copy, but on Labor Day, I feel a little bit more patriotic than most days.

So here is Credit Donkey’s tribute to the American Worker with various facts and figures about our workforce. I’m sure they’re hoping that after you read this, you’ll feel comfortable enough with our economy that you go right out and BUY something. Oh well, that can’t be all bad either.

Happy Labor Day, everyone! And to all those that are laboring this weekend in hospitals, airports and police stations -thank you.

Infographics: Labor Day
Courtesy of: CreditDonkey

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!


TedTalks. Better Than Redbox

TedTalks webpage

Choose a cool TedTalk this way…

I feature Ted.com online video podcasts quite often on Saturday Morning’s Post. As a social media coach, these talks often provide me with new insights into trends and differing viewpoints on countless topics. As they say, TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Ted.com started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. I think TedTalks simply feed your mind.

Since June 2006, TEDTalks have been made available online on the TED website, YouTube, and iTunes. As the list grows ever-larger, deciding which video to watch becomes a bit tougher. It’s kind of like standing in front of the Red Box choosing your movie of the night. Pick, just pick one!

900+ Ted Talks in Spreadsheet

OR just find a TedTalk this way

Now, TedTalks has put together a handy little Google shared spreadsheet with all of the 900+ TedTalks making it easy to find just the right video. Check it out! What’s your flavor? Remember they’re great for sharing!

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

The Wealth of the Web Runs Deep, A Sequel

The original article, The Wealth of the Web Runs Deep, posted as a Saturday Morning’s Post in March received some of our best response ever. So, as a blogger, what do you do with that information?  You find out what’s hot and repeat it.

Using web analytics, a.k.a. stats, you’re able to find out so many things. For instance, you find what your audience likes or doesn’t, you find what days and times get the most response, and find what your average response is to each blog. Careful web analysis is worthwhile and critical to success.

Enough with the shop talk, Saturdays here at Social Energizer are for fun. With that in mind, a sequel to The Wealth of the Web Runs Deep is in order. Here are five websites that will help build your ‘web wealth’. Today, we have two time-lapse videos by Mindrelic, an interactive sunrise and new cool canoe. I want it.

Mindrelic 1 – Manhatten in motion -time lapse

If the video doesn’t load, click here.

Mindrelic 2 – Summer to Fall

If the video doesn’t load, click here.

Interactive Sunriseinteractive sunrise

This interactive sunrise, allows the viewer to spin it 360 degrees and look up and down. Very cool affects. rom Deviant Art, an artist community. Check out some of their work here.

Get Closer to Nature

You’ve heard of glass-bottom boats. How about a glass-bottom canoe or better yet the whole canoe in glass! This one let’s you really commune with nature. Yes, I do want.glass-bottom canoe

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

Vacationing with the Queen of Lists

My husband, Tom, and I start our vacation this weekend. We’ll be exploring the Mississippi River area with my sister and her husband in a 32-foot motor home. Yeah! Fun here we come!

Packing will be tricky. But, as unofficial Queen of Lists, I will take this challenge head on. I have a camping list dating back about ten plus years from when our family camped regularly. Everything but the kitchen sink is in there.

It’s been awhile, but the secret to happy camping is in the planning. So… being married to the Internet, as I am, what do I do next? Of course I check online for more help in making sure I don’t forget anything. And what do I find, but this awesome web tool ‘smart’ packing list, that generates an intelligent list based on what type of travel you’re actually doing! I highly recommend it, but when it goes to print the minimum list is five pages long! So personally, I just save it to a pdf and view it on screen.

Packing List Generator

What this list features is a last minute check on important things like getting the cat to your daughter’s for pet-sitting, unplugging stuff, and getting the garbage out. You wouldn’t want any unhappy surprises when you get back, would you? After that, it goes through the usual list of clothing, hygiene, health, money, and documents that you may need. But then, it goes through everything you may not have thought of like: sleeping, cooking, sports, gadgets, and entertainment items.

The only thing it missed was the gift for my husband, Tom, as we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Hmmm, guess it didn’t know. Happy Anniversary, honey!

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

Lazy Summer Days Mean It’s Time for a Rube Goldberg Machine

My favorite ‘reset switch’ is watching a Rube Goldberg machine and here’s one that is really unique. It’s called Melvin the Magical Mixed Media Machine or Melvin the Machine for short. This four minute chain reaction craziness will grab your attention and leave you laughing. I like the fact that the people from hey, hey, hey have done it one better by video-taping the audience as they watch it. They have ‘branded’ Melvin as a a non-identity identity as set forth in the terms of the contest they participated in. Pretty clever.

Melvin The Magical Mixed Media Machine from HEYHEYHEY on Vimeo.

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!