Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blastoff Blasted Off Today

OK, if you know me at all you know that I love a good deal. Well, I got invited to join this Blastoff thing. Initially, I got emails from a couple of different people telling me it was going to be the biggest thing since Google. I was very skeptical. I checked into it more and it does look really cool. To be in on the "early" version, I had to pay money, so of course, I said 'no' to that. But as of today, I could join for free, and so can you.

It appears that I can get discounts on anything I purchase through the portal. This, in itself is good for me because I do a LOT of online shopping, especially for gifts. Then it appears that I can also get a percentage from all the people that join on my invite. If you join, you can get a percentage of your invites as well. It's like an MLM thing, but nobody (except the advertisers) has to pay any money. We only make money (I really like that!)

So, as far as I can tell this is a no-risk way to make a little extra cash. I really don't see what there is to lose. It was really simple to get started and it looks like a really neat site.

Oh, by the way, the system itself is really slow today since this was the day that everyone could join for free and invitations are flying. I'm sure the performance will be fine once it gets through this initial rush.

Check it out

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

15-Day Social Media Lesson Plan

If you're new to social media, the abundance of tools and available information can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to begin. And then once you do start, you suddenly are distracted by site upon site of advice, information, and really cool stuff!

I always start by telling people to begin by figuring out their objective. Are you wanting to use social media to find a job? explore a hobby? market your business? Or maybe you don't even KNOW how you want to use these tools. You just want to get started, but the more you learn, the more you find out that you'll never learn it all.

Here are my tips for staying focused and a 15-day plan for someone who was interested in LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Blogging. This plan can and should be tailored for your needs. I'd suggest any person that wants to learn social media also add at least a week to learn about Twitter. Once you know the basics of the most popular tools, you can start exploring techniques for integrating the tools, gaining readership, internet marketing, forming a network, or ... just playing games, if that's what you want to do!

Staying Focused

  • Commit to spending 1 hour a day to learning how to use Social Media.
  • Decide at the beginning of that hour what you are going to accomplish. Sample "lessons" below.
  • During that hour, ignore your phone, other email that comes in, or any social media sites, other than those that are specifically associated with your purpose.
  • Each day, as you're learning, keep a "Notes" document window open that you can use to cut and paste links to sites that you want to explore later. Use the page to keep notes with questions, learnings, or reminders of features that you'd like to check into. Use a word processor that will keep the hyperlink when you cut and paste, so that you will be able to easily link to the interesting sites right from your document.
  • Set a timer for 55 minutes. Did you accomplish your goal? If not, why not. Write in your notes what you did and what still needs to be done, if anything to complete the goal.
  • If you finish your goal before your hour is up, then use a search engine (like Google or Bing) to search for your topic. Click through to the links that look the most interesting. Often you will find presentations, articles, blogs, tutorials, and many valuable sites. Copy those links to your Notes section to explore at a later time.
  • At least once a week use your hour to go back through your notes and explore the links that you have in your notes or to try and get your questions answered.
15-Day Plan

Week 1: Branding and LinkedIn


Day 1: - Determine your Brand - Create a folder with photos and documents (ie resume, HUB, etc.) that describe YOU and what you stand for. These can be used when you create profiles in social media tools.

Day 2: - LinkedIn - Create an Account and Your Profile Page

Day 3: - LinkedIn - Find Connections

Day 4: - LinkedIn - Join Groups

Day 5: - Use your Notes to explore more about LinkedIn

Week 2: FaceBook


Day 6: - FaceBook - Getting Started

Day 7: - FaceBook - Learn About Fan Pages

Day 8: - FaceBook - Privacy Settings

Day 9: - FaceBook - Groups

Day 10: - Use your Notes to explore more about FaceBook

Week 3: Blogging


Day 11: - Learn more about Blogging and why people do it

Day 12: - Get a Blogger Account and Start Tutorials

Day 13: - Write Your First Blog Post

Day 14: - Learn about RSS and sign up for a feed reader such as Google Reader so you can subscribe to blogs

Day 15: - Use your Notes to explore more about Blogging

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

There IS Such Thing as a Free Lunch!

I can't believe my luck since I've been playing "SuperFrug." A few weeks ago I put one of my new New World Social Media business cards (obtained for only the shipping costs, by the way, from into the fishbowl at the FlatIrons Noodles & Company Restaurant.

I didn't really think much about it until I received an email from Christina Walls, Assistant Manager, entitled "Free Noodles" (the word Free will always get my attention.) The email said:
You have been selected from our fishbowl to participate in what we call our
“Hero Lunch”. You and 5 of your friends/family are invited to Noodles
& Company at Flatirons Marketplace to partake in a free meal on us! We
call it a Hero Lunch because you will be the Hero of all your friends/family
that you treat for lunch or dinner. You will be treated to any dishes that
you might want to try along with any of our tasty soups or salads, drinks and
deserts. You can write me back or give me a call here at Noodles so we can
set you up for a date/time.

Well, being unemployed, and my obsession with frugality, I was elated! Add to that the fact that Noodles is one of my favorite places to eat, and you could say I hit the virtual jackpot! Of course, there were SO many people I wanted to invite to this Noodle party -- all the wonderful, supportive friends that have bought ME lunch and suffered through my penny-pinching ways.

Since the lunch was scheduled for 1:30, a little late for a work lunch, I decided to invite some of my fellow-frugal-friends that were not working (at least not in the traditional sense... where you get paid...) I actually ended up inviting 6 people, thinking we could all chip in and cover at least one meal, but Christina wouldn't hear of it. She very generously told us our whole party of 7 (me and 6 friends) could eat for free.

Now, we're not just talking about a skimpy little token lunch...we're talking LOTS OF DELICIOUS FOOD! A big full meal...drinks, soup, salad, bread -- the works! And then, with no order from us, Christina brings over this big tray of goodies...brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and Rice Crispie treats! When I went to tip Christina and the wait staff, they wouldn't hear of it. "No tips allowed!" they said.

"There's gotta be a catch," I thought. "How can they afford to give away this full meal?" I asked Christina what I could do to thank her for such generosity.

"Spread the word," she said. "We're getting hit by the economy and we need the business."

This was even more impressive to me... Even though this location is hit hard, they are giving away food. Well, you'd better believe that I am spreading the word, and I'll ask all of you to spread it, too. Their food is delicious, their service is wonderful, and best of all... they have big hearts. They deserve all the business they can get.

Help me spread the word:

Eat at Noodles & Company
635A Flatiron Marketplace Broomfield, CO 80021

And tell Christina that she's awesome!
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