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Archive for October, 2012

“Six-year-old Jenny gives two thumbs up as her wish to swim with dolphins comes true.”

“Nine-year-old Jeremiah grins from ear to ear as his wish to go on a shopping spree becomes reality.”

“Seventeen-year-old Karissa, who wished to visit Australia, stops to pose with a koala bear.”

[insert photo of cute wish kid who grins from ear to ear]

While working for a local non-profit I was tasked with providing daily Facebook updates for the Foundation. In general, finding things to write about was easy. We granted wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions. As long as the family had given the thumbs up for publicity, there was usually a recent wish recipient I could write about. The pictures we received showed children who had found hope, strength and joy during the wish process. It was easy to generate ‘likes’ from our fans, due to the simple nature of the mission we supported. But it was also easy to start sounding like a broken record.

In order to break up the regular posts featuring the wish kids I found other ways to keep our followers engaged. I wrote about donors. I wrote about ways our followers could get involved. I wrote about things going on around the office.

HalloweenBy working for a children’s charity we were always looking for excuses to dress up (or dress down). Basement needs cleaning? Guess we’ll have to wear jeans. Boss is out of the office? Sounds like a jeans day to me! Halloween is just around the corner? You better bet we’ll be tracking down the best costume in town. Festivus for the volunteers? Better pull out the ugly sweaters.

Then I had the crazy idea to turn that ugly sweater contest into a Facebook contest. I had no idea that we were about to launch our most popular post to date.

Each staff member wore an ugly sweater to the volunteer Christmas party, and then we posted pictures online and asked our fans to vote for their favorite. The ‘likes’ quickly added up. Volunteers, wish families and friends of staff members each had their favorite person in the office, and no one was going to let someone else win. Within 24 hours the voting slowed, but the Insights page showed activity on our page had skyrocketed. The post had nothing to do with the mission we all worked so hard to support, yet generated more online activity for the Foundation than any other post we had shared since the page was created.

Are you stuck in a rut with your status updates? Do you find that you are not sure what to share with your fans? Have you noticed that it’s the same group of people who ‘like’ each thing you post? Perhaps today as you wear your Halloween costumes to work you might consider posting your photos online and asking fans to ‘like’ their favorite. Want to get even more activity on your page? Turn the post into a contest for your followers; offer a gift card or service discount for one lucky person who votes for their favorite photo.

I’m convinced that a simple change from the regular posts you create each day will greatly help the activity on your Insights page. Be sure to report back and let me know how it goes – I can’t wait to hear all about it!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Let’s be honest. I left a great job with an amazing non-profit organization in an effort to support my husband as he pursues his love of working in the medical field. For the 8+ years we’ve been married, I have always been the breadwinner. Until now. Jobs always came easy. We moved around the western United States and at a very young age I found myself in a managerial position. I spent a decade working for local television stations in both Utah and Wyoming, and then changed careers.

That change in my professional life was the best thing that could have ever happened in my personal life. My new job allowed me the flexibility I needed to support a husband who had recently sustained an injury while serving for the United States Army. It gave me the opportunity to have nights, holidays and weekends at home with my family. It gave me personal satisfaction in serving others and knowing that at the end of the day, I truly had made a difference in the lives of those I served.

Today I find myself in a foreign place of high unemployment rates and lots of employers searching social media sites to find the best candidate for their organization. That’s why it’s imperative that I am on my ‘A’ game when it comes to what I put online.

An article published by Michele Cuthbert of Baker Creative(1) points out how employers are using social media to track down potential employees. As Cuthbert points out, the obvious place for professionals to network is Linkedin. But job searchers are also strategic in how they use Twitter.

Francesca Krihely was offered a position at 10gen, the company behind open source NoSQL database system MongoDB, after connecting with key decision makers from the company via Twitter.


“I had heard about and been following 10gen for quite some time on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, so naturally I started following two executives — the two most public-facing people in the company,” says Krihely. “I also followed the company’s LinkedIn group and saw how the popularity and legitimacy of MongoDB had grown. After months of lurking on the sidelines, I started re-tweeting Meghan and @mongodb’s tweets in hopes of getting their attention.”

Her tactic worked, and after five months of searching, Krihely landed a position as a community manager for the company, Cuthbert writes.

But it’s not just what you share on Linkedin or who you follow on Twitter that will lead you to your next position. It’s also what you write in your blog that could catch the attention of a future employer. Dan Fonseca(2) believes that your blog can be more powerful than your resume. That makes sense – if you think about it. While going through the job search process employers take time to scan resumes. Here you list your past experience and name all the things you achieved. But do you practice what you preach? What kind of a person are you when you’re not on the clock? Does your personal belief system mirror the mission and values of the place you would like to work? A quick look through your personal writings can give a future employer a very quick look into who you really are.

So where to start with the blog? Fonseca narrows it down into three concise points:

1 – Values, Character and Personality That’s three points in one, really, but what he’s getting at is that which I’ve just mentioned. If you don’t stand for the same things the company believes in, you might not be the right fit. My personal experience has taught me that no matter how much the pay, no matter how great the benefits, at the end of the day if you don’t leave your job feeling personal satisfaction then you will never achieve true happiness. So save yourself the heartache of coming home grumpy everyday and skip the application process if the job isn’t the right fit for you. Keep writing about your passion, but know when to separate the personal from professional.

2 – Communication Skills and Thinking Process The idea here is simple. But I’d like to refer to a personal experience from a few years ago.

A former employer (who shall remain unnamed) was looking to hire a part time tour guide. As a tour guide, the employee would show guests around the facility and talk about the organization. The employee would then write a report and document the things that were mentioned by guests during the tour. While we went through the hiring process we were very impressed with *Derek’s resume. He had prepared a beautiful cover letter and really impressed us during his first round interview. The second interview was held and Derek was offered the job. Within days we noticed several incompetencies with Derek. He struggled to use the computer. He didn’t know how to use email. His writing was, well, to put it nicely, horrible. While Derek continued to amaze and impress those he encountered with his people skills, his ability to sit and write plundered. The 90-day probation policy was utilized and Derek was relieved of his duties.

The one thing I will never forget of this experience comes from my co-worker, Derek’s direct supervisor. He said, “My biggest mistake in hiring him was not issuing a writing exercise.” We later learned that Derek’s mom had helped him prepare his cover letter. Maybe Derek is wise to not keep a blog, because we would have caught this problem right away. Then again, we were at fault for not giving him a writing test. My point is this – you are what you write. Derek didn’t keep a blog and now we know why. But if you are an excellent communicator and love to write – more importantly – if you want to achieve a job that requires strong writing skills – then surely you are keeping a blog that allows you to share your love of writing.

3 – Ideas and Creativity A resume is restrictive in that there are only so many things you can write about before you run out of space. A blog allows you expand on the ideas you have and strategies for accomplishing greatness. Cuthbert shares a perfect example of this idea by referring to a gentleman who put a video on YouTube:

James Purdy, a recent hire at UIEvolution — a mobile, tablet, TV and automotive applications development company in Kirkland, Wash. — decided to look for a new job when his new interests waned from the direction of his day job.


“On some occasions I would even come home for lunch to work on my iOS project. I didn’t feel the same intensity with my work projects, which made the work week less personally rewarding,” Purdy says in his blog, MyiPhoneAdventure.com. “I suppose one might say I was suffering from the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence syndrome, but it looked so green in the neighboring field, and I couldn’t look away.”


Purdy utilized both traditional and social media job search techniques when doing his search, and he came across the listing for his current UIEvolution position on Craigslist. To demonstrate that he possessed the skills needed for the job, Purdy made a YouTube video showing his most recent project, a nearly completed iPad app.

About a week later, Purdy heard from several companies and had several interviews, ultimately resulting in a job offer.

For now, I enjoy my time at home with my little ones as my husband attends school by day and works at night. I find joy in keeping this blog, where I can stay up-to-date on social media trends. And when I tired of writing and changing diapers, there’s always a new park to play in or a trail to discover. Happy writing!

*name has been changed

1. How Gen Y Scores Jobs With Social Search, Mashable Business, Michele Cuthbert. http://mashable.com/2012/06/24/gen-y-social-media-search/?goback=%2Egde_80941_member_177467192

2. 3 Effective Ways to Make Your Blog More Powerful Than Your Resume, Reviewz ‘N’ Tips, Daniel Sharkov. http://www.reviewzntips.com/2011/05/benefits-of-blogging.html

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Fox News debate

MSNBC debateJust like those little school projects you used to do in the 3rd grade… how many things can you find that are different? I’ll give you a free one – one photo is taken from a screenshot of Fox News, one photo is taken from a screenshot of MSNBC. Now that the obvious one is out of the way – how many other differences can you find? I see at least seven.

 

Ready? GO!

 

Leave a comment and let me know what else you can find.

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Notre Dame, 17 ~ BYU, 14

Touchdown Jesus

 

They went. They conquered. Touchdown Jesus prevailed.

Mission Accomplished.

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Notre Dame Fighting IrishTo say that the man in my house is a Notre Dame fan would be an understatement. Mr. G, as we’ll call him, was born to a man born and raised in Indianapolis. My father-in-law grew up listening to Irish games on the radio, always cheering for the green and gold. His team, afterall, who to this day put points on the board under the famed ‘Touchdown Jesus‘, calls South Bend, Indiana, home. For those who are map-illiterate, South Bend is exactly 130 miles due north of Indianapolis. My father-in-law comes from a family that didn’t have a lot of money, but they had each other. And together, with their Fighting Irish, they had it all. Saturday afternoons were spent with each other, all huddled around the portable radio, cheering for the boys and yelling at the announcer. The thought of going to a game in person… now that was nothing more than a fairytale. But through the little kitchen radio my father-in-law could dream, and dream he did.

There was no questioning who my husband would be raised to cheer for. No question what his favorite color would be (green). No question what his favorite movie would be (Rudy). And to be fair, guys, my husband did not cry when we got married. He did not cry when we had our firstborn. But he did cry when we watched Rudy together. Oh. And that firstborn I mentioned? She came out wearing a Notre Dame hat. I’m not kidding. And when we smiled at each other and said ‘I do’ I also made a promise that day – a promise to my husband that our children would be raised Notre Dame fans. Forget the fact that we both graduated from a great school out west… I had made a promise and that promise is one that can’t be broke.

“Hello divorce lawyer? Are you there?” Yah. It’s that bad. If I even think about cheering for anyone else my butt will be kicked to the curb.

So when the leaves start to change and a small chill rises in the air, I know one thing: hibernation season is over, the man in my house is ready to watch football. Folks, he couldn’t even tell you what channel ESPN is, (lucky for him the Notre Dame games all air on NBC), but come football season a side that I’m not entirely familiar with emerges and he goes full Chuck Norris in the living room while watching his team on the flatscreen.

Since we said ‘I do’ I’ve learned a lot about Notre Dame. We watched a lot of Charlie Weis and Brady Quinn in the early days. This year we think Manti Te’o is great… and really, who wouldn’t? His family story is a Cinderella story in and of itself. Girlfriend and Grandma die hours apart… Te’o finds therapy in returning to the grid iron and having what many call ‘the best game of his life’ against Michigan State four days later. Fast forward three weeks later and Notre Dame is undefeated at 6-0.

This week the Fighting Irish take on the Mormon Cougars out of BYU. Being from Utah myself, this game is big. You see, I grew up going to BYU games. While my husband was a little boy in the Midwest cheering for the Irish, I was the little girl who went to games at Cougar Stadium with my mom and dad. (That’s where they met. Then again, it seems as though that’s where most young Mormon couples meet.) Although I didn’t go to BYU, it’s still the team my family cheers for. My extended family. Not my family… you remember that clause I signed at the alter. “I will raise our children to be Notre Dame fans.”

Now we live in Milwaukee. And BYU is headed east. They’re taking on the Irish at Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday. For us, there couldn’t be a bigger game. And you know what? We have tickets. You hear that? We have tickets! But I’m not going. I’m not. I’m going to sit with our little ones while my husband enjoys the game. For him, this is more than a game; this is more than a fall afternoon in little old South Bend. This is about my husband inviting his father to the game. It’s about memories that have been 30+ years in the making. It’s about my father-in-law seeing his dream to watch his favorite team in person, come true. It’s about my husband doing something with his father that his father enjoys (because Mr. G never did like fishing with his dad anyways).

My husband is a simple man; his father even more so. But when I drop them off at the stadium Saturday afternoon, it will be hard to hold the tears back as I watch them enter the stands together, for the first time.

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I had to drop something off at the church this morning. The church is about 25 minutes away. Along the way I kept thinking how bad I felt for not taking my camera along. On the way back I finally gave in, pulled over and started snapping pictures with my 3.2 megapixel cell phone camera. The colors here are amazing. And if you think they look great in the photos – you can only imagine what they look like in person.
Can’t get over how beautiful and red these guys are!
Beautiful golden drive
I felt like I was driving into a fairy tale.
I told my 4-year-old we were driving through the forest. (but not really! In fact, believe it or not, there are houses only 10 feet behind these trees!)
Beautiful colors lining the side of the road
How would you like to pull into this neighborhood every afternoon after a long, hard day at work?
After 30+ years out west I’ve seen my share of red rocks, desert landscapes and wide open spaces. But the fall leaves in the midwest are simply something else!

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Ten days ago the guys in charge over at Facebook announced that users can now promote posts for a one-time fee of $7. It comes a little more than a year after the guys at FB responded to a viral hoax, alleging that Facebook would start charging users to use the social site’s new platform.

“A rumor on the Internet caught our attention. We have no plans to charge for Facebook. It’s free and always will be.”

Guess they changed their minds.

facebook promoteWhen you update your status you now have the option to promote your post. By doing so, your post will appear at the top of your friend’s feeds, helping it to gain more visibility.

facebook promote termsBut be warned. As soon as you click that 7-letter word your credit card info is called for.

I actually read about this announcement the day it was made. I’ve spent the past week and a half pondering the news, and in the end I’ve decided it’s a good thing. This is why:

top storiesSome time ago Facebook changed the way the Newsfeed scrolls by giving users the option to view Newsfeed posts one of two ways ~ “Top Stories” or “Most Recent”. Being the FB junkie that I am, I prefer to read my posts in chronological order. But FB nearly always defaults to “Most Recent”, so after I log in I have to click the “Sort” button and change my settings. That’s common sense for me. But again, a lot of my friends don’t get online as often as I do, therefore they don’t catch every post that has been listed.

On that note, a promoted post will gain more visibility as it will have the opportunity to loiter at the top of a friend’s feed – hopefully long enough that those who only log on once or twice a week will have a chance to see the big news. It will also be beneficial for those who have a lot of Facebook friends. I happen to keep my Facebook circle tight, only some 200-300 friends are connected. But there are those who chose to become friends with anyone and everyone they’ve ever met. So, for all the high school kids who have some 700-800 Facebook friends, they too will now have the opportunity to see the big news when Johnny pays $7 to promote the news that he’s now ‘in a relationship’.

This is why Facebook drives me nuts. Not all of my friend’s status updates show up in my newsfeed. FB filters posts and only publishes the ones that are most relevant to me. Maybe my friend Jared’s posts don’t show because we don’t often interact. My friend Julie’s posts might not show because I have her flagged as an acquaintance. So right off the bat, even though I scan my Newsfeed several times a day, there are still posts I miss.

Facebook clearly recognizes the problem, and now they are choosing to ‘help’ users by charging a fee. So much for being free, right?

Let me share a personal example that demonstrates how a post could have benefited from being promoted.

Earlier this year I found out I was going to have a baby. I think that’s worth announcing on Facebook. In fact, in my opinion, not many other things trump an addition to the family. It was Valentine’s Day, so I chose to share a family photo from a recent vacation to Las Vegas. Under the photo I wrote that we were taking ‘bets’ to find out whether baby #2 would be a girl or a boy.

Within minutes of posting my news the comments started rolling in. Lots of ‘woohoos’ and several more ‘Congratulations’. One or two even told me they had been speculating, because my growing stomach was already starting to show. (To be fair, I was already 20 weeks along. In fact, I already knew it was a girl). When the excitement slowed down I had some 50-60 comments and/or likes, a ranking of roughly 25% of my friends. To be honest, I was a little hurt that more of my ‘friends’ didn’t congratulate me on the news. So I followed the big announcement post with this one:

cleaning houseOh boy. That did it. If I hadn’t woken the sleeping giant before, he was wide awake and coming after me now. People begged me to keep them around (funny how people take a clean up so seriously). They got defensive. They explained why they hadn’t commented the day before. Some were supportive. Others… well, take a look for yourself (Last names have been removed so I don’t lose the rest of my friends):

Jenny: In the words of Frank, tell those non-commenters/non-likers to “Get out of here!”

Sondra: I can’t remember if I liked or not, but I did see your big announcement (Congrats!) but I am also 36 weeks pregnant sick with the flu and every time I get a second to sit the computer my kids distract me and I forget what I am doing. Just don’t get rid of us totally overwhelmed people….

Christie: You sound a tiny bit hormonal here!? LoL I change my guess to a girl

Krachel Greenwood Not hormonal – just keepin it real.

Cami: Congrats! Missed it yesterday but I say another girl.

Christie: Its true there’s a lot of non commenting lurkers out there… I don’t like the ones to just read the gossip but never post anything of their own!

Geoff: DO IT!!

Cindy: I saw all the comments and you have a lot of fb friends that commented. You mean you have even more than those who didn’t comment. Excited about the announcement. I’m thinking another girl!

Jill: I missed it yesterday too. Congrats! I don’t get on Facebook everyday. Sometimes only about once a week. Probably alot of the non commenters out there just don’t get on all the time, so maybe they missed the big announcement? I would have if I didn’t get on tonight. Anyway, congrats! I’m so excited for you. I say boy to help Matt out a little. Have to balance the hormones out you know!

Kandis: Don’t delete me!! And I think you’ll have a boy.

Krachel Greenwood I know there’s a lot who don’t get on daily. But there’s also a lot who do… Yet try to stay anonymous. Chances are if we’ve chatted in the past – you’re probably safe.

Terri: Great, I am safe. I can sleep better tonight.

DiAnne: Oh…good thing I just got back from Nashville and Yellowstone and Big Sky MT……don’t make me go away! I understand how you feel, however. I had to “unfriend” a few a couple weeks ago. I kind of like a R.I.P. message to them. JOKING! Maybe send them a private msg that you are wondering how they are doing?…if nothing….push the red button. Just thinking. XO

Angela: Hey, I LOVED your post yesterday

DiAnne: Remember…life is too short to feel emotionally bogged down by issues. If it doesn’t feel good for your life, then make a change…whatever that may be. Emotional or physical….having internal peace is key. Do what is right for you. XO

Dana: I missed it… Sorry! that’s awesome! I always miss the good stuff. many congrats!

Wendi: I get it everyday…oh, but you are talking about fb. I am going to say boy. They are the ones that makes us feel bad and unloved.

Brad: I’m still mad you jinxed the pats………..again!!! Damn you and Matt’s love making patterns

Angela: What if I was too busy gettin busy to see your announcement yesterday?

Angela: Congrats btw!

Frank: PHEW! so glad i commented yesterday!!

Robert: As someone who used to work in the news business, I hope you’ll understand and forgive me for having a rather hectic couple of days at my station, and failed to comment on your photo.

Now, that being said…Congratulations! Are you guys hoping for a boy or a girl? One of each?

Mindy: Uh oh. I just commented. Hope I make the cut. If I could triple like your announcement, I would. Such exciting news!

Hugh: As a father of eight, two of them boys, I must guess it will be a girl. Mood swings considered?

Kristin: You opened a can of worms here lol I didn’t comment either but am so thrilled for you. I’m guessing a girl so your older one can have can have a little sister. I say you can never have to many friends to love and support you. You never know when you may need them.

Jeana: Wow missed the announcement but just checked it out. Congrats! What a cute way to announce! My vote is another girl…

Jeremy: umm. congrats.

Aaron: Missed the announcement. Congrats are in order.

John: Your updates don’t always appear on my feed.

That said, Jaqueline and I DID congratulate you in our own conversations, just not on your page. Love to hear you guys are making another baby. Or MADE another baby as this case may be. Atta girl. Or boy.
February 16 at 5:05am · Unlike · 1

Timothy: Congrats Krachel. I guess Matt helped a little…well maybe not a little. Mom told me last Saturday you were expecting in July. Sounds like a road trip out west is in the future.

Nika: I liked it. I’m happy for you, please don’t break up with me. PS how are you feeling?

Tricia: Congratulations to you and your family! I don’t always see or comment on every post but love to check in and see how everyone is doing. I’ll say twins – a boy and a girl!

Brittany: ahhhh I just saw your post. CONGRATULATIONS! please don’t delete me

Melissa: i didn’t even see the announcement!!!! congrats! how far along are you?

Travis: Congrats krach

Krachel Greenwood Hey – to be fair – we all clean house here and there – I just chose to give a heads up!

Heather: I agree with jill. Some of us may have missed it because our feeds turn over quickly or we don’t check fb every day. Congrats btw!

Mindy: Must have missed but after reading other comments you must be expecting. Congratulations!! I say boy since that’s what your sister is having so the cousins will play together

Katie: And everyone who loves you and checks Facebook regularly deserves to stay. Please keep me, as I commented from Germany!

Rebekah: It’s good to clean house every once in awhile!

Joy: I agree!!!

Michael: I’m coming in late to the conversation….Keep me!!! And congratulations!!!

Jami: Sheesh, glad I got on FB yesterday!!!

Sandy: Hey, congratulations. So exciting. I guess this means you wont be able to catch for softball. im sad about that, but so excited your 3-yr-old will be a big sis. good luck !

Shauna: Oh my…..i guess I’m TOTALLY OUT!! congrats krachel and matt!! How fun to be having another baby! Oh how I hope he wears the kilt to bless new baby greenwood!!! I’m so excited for you guys!!

The truth is – I had to take a step back and realize that not everyone gets on Facebook as much as I do. Then again, most people don’t get PAID to be on Facebook (like I do). So to sum it up, sadly, I believe that promoted posts are a good idea. Who knows? You might just see me pay to announce baby #3.

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