The power of story – National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. While I may not be a novelist, I can’t ignore the community that pops up surrounding story. No matter who you are stories are what bind us together and help us get through tough times.

Originally stories were passed down in an oral tradition. Now pass we pass on tales through writing, art, pictures, movies, quilts, books, and several different methods to tell and display a story.

Each method of story telling sheds light on an aspect that could have been overlooked in previously.

The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that we are able to have an international community through online forums, community boards, and live chats. And National Novel Writing Month is no exception. Through their site, they have created a community within communities, giving writers the option to join a region where they live. From there they can encourage (aka ‘pep talks’), swap story ideas, check on name connotation and much more. This gives the story tellers a place to hone in on the craft of storytelling.

Let’s face it, the art of telling a story is an important one. Today, in a social society, everyone has a story to tell, draw, animate, video tape, publish, write, sing, etc. But there is one thing that separates the story tellers from the screamers, is the understanding of audience and delivery.

Real story tellers know it’s not really about them. It’s about the audience, and from there, it’s how you tell your tale.

A social world has leveled the playing field, but it’s also drowned the system. Anything can be made public, for better or for worse. The important thing to remember is that it’s not for us to judge what’s the best and worst out there, because there might be a person somewhere, that finds a piece speaks to them. A story that’s not heard in one room, will be echoed and repeated in another.

Either way, all stories need to be told.


Boundaries & self censorship

Photo from: Andrew Mccluskey (Flickr)

Boundaries. Important for any relationship, from business to personal, and it’s important to identify them in the beginning and even as you go. But what about boundaries with yourself?

There are people that blog, tweet, or facebook EVERYTHING that is going on in their life. I know, everyone overshares sometimes, but I’m reminded of the quote that I heard so often growing up:

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

When I am going to mention my husband in a blog post, I tell him, give him context, even though I don’t get into anything specific in the post. Why? Because I think it’s important to note that not everyone wants to have their daily life logged online. Their space needs to be respected over my desire to vent.

Besides, I can save that for girl’s wine night right?

A more sensitve example… I’ve volunteered with children in emergency shelters, worked with abused people, and drug addicts. I’m not saying that some of those stories wouldn’t be valuable to share in the right setting, but posted online, for the world to see, isn’t always my place. I think that people need to know that you’re not going to run and post a video, or make a new status update based on the guts they just spilled. It’s already hard to trust people, let’s not make it harder by getting rid of trust in relationships.

4 personal censor rules for deciding NOT to post:

  • Would I be proud, not defensive, about what I posted?
  • Am I up for being held accountable?
  • Would I not want the person or organization to find this out?
  • How would I feel if this table was turned?

Would I be proud, not defensive, about what I posted?Am I up for being held accountable?Would I not want the person or organization to find this out?How would I feel if this table was turned?

If I answer ‘no’ to these items, the post doesn’t happen. Social networks are made to build, maintain, and grown relationships. Not to create burn books. We’re all over high school.

How do you decide what to post & what NOT to post?

Snow, twitter, & MN shuts down

Snow storm 12/15/2010

Today we (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN & the state) have been hit by a storm.


This picture is from my window. The area where the seats and table are located, was clear… yesterday. Now? We’re missing a bench. Oh wait, this was taken around 1pm. It’s almost 7pm as I’m writing this and it’s still snowing.

Makes for a great ‘stay-in-and-hang-out‘ day.

What I love about days like this, is the way that people start to communicate. The mayor of Minneapolis was able to tweet the snow plowing plans, churches posted program changes, and other people talked about their experiences with food being delivered.

We’re able to communicate now, more than we were able to even just 5 years ago. Today, we can communicate for funsafety, tips for moving the snow, and lots of laughs.

And with a news reports like this, we need some laughs!

Minneapolis Mayor Tweets

Do you communicate differently now than you did 3,5, or 10 years ago? If so, what’s different?

The Wikipedia Effect

I subscribe to the paper. The Star Tribune to be specific.

Some people might find that peculiar since I’m a digital marketer, I blog, and I pretty much live online (so much so that my husband comments about my tweets sometimes).

Despite those things, reading the newspaper is one of the highlights of my week. It’s a time I dedicate to catching up on local and national news. In fact, it’s something that I have been focusing on making time for, which is connected to the ‘Relax Project’ which is a whole other blog post.

While reading the paper over the past year, I realized that it has everything to do with actually consuming the content I’m reading. I can say that because I noticed that when I read the news online, I no longer read.


Continue reading The Wikipedia Effect

Professional Crush: Erin Blaskie

Erin Blaskie
From hyfen / Andrew Louis

It’s time for another professional crush (see ’em here)!

When I started to learn about working online, and getting paid for it, one name kept coming across my search results, Erin Blaskie.

Blaskie is not only described as being in a ‘hot, passionate love affair with the Internet’ but she is nothing short of a digital media princess.

In college, I majored in electronic and corporate communications and spent most of my time in the campus radio and TV stations. As a result, I love podcasts, technology, and everything digital media. That’s why today’s professional crush is Erin Blaskie.

Blaskie is based in Canada, and runs a number of services for online businesses and activities.

Last February, I attended her Blog Design Bootcamp 3.0. She not only answered questions, posted additional resources, posted the videos, but also gave us the opportunity to submit any question we had when it came to blogging. It was awesome… I should probably go back and revamp this blog…

Blaskie is the business woman I aspire to be. She’s not only knowledgeable, but extremely easy to talk to. That doesn’t happen very often.

She has an an amazing blogging ethic, is an early adopter of online tools, and is really into customer service. She provides free emails with tips, eBooks, and much more.

What that has taught me: Never underestimate the value of giving information away. Continue reading Professional Crush: Erin Blaskie

Social Media Training-Active, Engage, Learn

When I work with people or organizations on social media, I learn very quickly that (usually) groups don’t need a lecture on the usefulness of social media, but a plan. They need identifiable action steps to start learning and using the tools.

It’s intimidating and scary to think that somewhere out there, people aren’t going to like what you’re sharing, aren’t going to read what you say, or people could even openly challenge what you’re posting.

And to top it all off, everyone can see what others are saying about you and your brand. For better or for worse.

That alone, can be devestating. It’s such a public act that people are nervous as to where to start. To me, that’s the easy part. Starting. To some leaders (see how it can help leaders), it’s a moment where their blood pressure starts to soar.

So, to prevent blood pressure problems, let’s give people wanting to take the plunge a little direction.

How? Action Steps.

(*Disclaimer- I must give credit where credit is due, the titles from this section came from a client. I was giving out homework, and he  came up with better ways to describe what I was wanting them to do.— See, we all have something to learn from each other)

Take 15 minutes, five minutes a piece, to increase your activity and understanding of online tools by:

1. Getting Active

2. Becoming Engaged

3. Learning more

Let’s break those down.

Continue reading Social Media Training-Active, Engage, Learn

The Social Network- PART 1

Thanks to Social Media Breakfast (and Columbia Entertainment) I was able to attend an early showing of The Social Network. This movie has generated tons of buzz, at least online and in the news, and I was excited to get the opportunity to have an advanced showing of the flick.

The experience: Violated? Check.

I arrived at the theater with my husband, parked, stood in line, got tickets, and went to the theater entrance. Standing in front of our theater was security with metal detector wands, and tickets.

Continue reading The Social Network- PART 1

Who am I? I donno, but do not just ask Google.

Today, if people want to get to know a client, potential employee, consultant or even a date, we can Google them. From there you might be able to see college activities, their current employer, wedding pictures or blog posts. However, there’s so much that Google isn’t able to find… even with their mad search engine and crazy connections to social networks.

To see what Google sees, I put my name into the search box and this is what happened: Continue reading Who am I? I donno, but do not just ask Google.

Digg becomes even more social OR Twitter 2.0?

Digg sent out a ‘sneak-peak‘ email last week that goes over some of the new features of the Digg website. Inside the email was a ‘private’ YouTube link talking about the new layout a features.

Now, Digg seems to be following the Twitter/social networking concept.

Soon you’ll be able to follow certain people and organizations and see what they have ‘Dugg’.  These Diggs will be under ‘My News’- which consists of all the people and organizations you are choosing to follow.

Digg will also have a section called ‘Top News’ that posts all the top articles that have been posted multiple times by the people/orgs you are ‘following’

Video selling points:

Digg doesn’t have the status update ‘spam’ (yes, I’m an update spammer too at times), and that is another point they are trying to sell the new site on. They are focused on content, not what people are having in their morning coffee.

Imported feeds-that’s right bloggers. This might be a handy feature. You don’t have to add your own posts anymore, they are already ‘Dugg’ through the import feature. Now, this does worry me since some people could just be paid to have bogus accounts with several corporate feeds about their products. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

My view is that this seems to just be a higher form of Twitter. I can follow someone and see the content they Dugg (retweeted) and I can Digg it myself (re-retweet) and it continues to go through my followers.

Is this an improvement? Will this increase Digg traffic?

Check out the ‘secret’ video here:

A Professional Crush: Eric Qualman

Come on, everyone has one- or a dozen. My best friends have them and even my fiancé.

They are the people that you stop tweeting, talking, and blogging for so you can watch their latest update, buy their new book or read over their latest post. You know, the professional crush.

This crush transcends gender, education and  understanding. I couldn’t tell you how this started, or when it did. All I can tell you is that it’s like I’m back in 5th grade and I found ‘the boy.’ Yup. My heart beats faster and I hang on every word.

Who is my professional crush?

Erik Qualman.

Qualman is a not only experienced in online marketing, but he’s the author of Socialnomics: How Social Media transforms the way we live and do business.

Qualman isn’t just on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He also has a blog using WordPress. A WP site just seals the deal with me. He knows what he’s talking about- because he lives it.

Perhaps I’ve become cynical with all the ‘experts’ out there that don’t even tweet or Facebook. At. All.

Not sure how that works really. I’m sure that some are awesome, and they don’t like to be connected all the time… but come on! Tweet or talk online somewhere. Show me that you know  how to conduct yourself online. Otherwise, why would I trust you with my brand online?

I first ran across Qualman over a year ago, and now I’m happy to follow his developments and statistics on social media in the world today. In fact, his old video, Social Media Revolution (click here), has now been updated with the latest information.

Here is Qualman’s updated Social Media Revolution 2 video:

Who is your professional crush? Has it changed over the years?