Sunday, December 27, 2009

eCards - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Christmas 2009
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I love this Smilebox Application. I used to spend a fortune making color copies of my Christmas letter and sending it out. Now it's all very simple.

However, just sending out a one-way newsletter or slideshow seems so ... self-centered! (Kind of like a blog, come to think of it!) I really like reconnecting with old friends. I know some people think eCards are not as "special" as the traditional cards, but my feeling is that the "special" part is not about whether it's a traditional card or an eCard.. It's about the personalization.

I say we should take advantage of these wonderful tools and technologies to write our not-so-personalized greeting with our news or our photos, but then spend the time to send a personalized greeting along with it -- whether that's with an email, a traditional card, a phone call, a lunch, or a facebook post. People like to know we're thinking of them and if we don't take the time to write something personal, we might as well be standing in front of a crowd shouting, "Look at me!"

I think that's true of Social Media in general. It's a great and easy way to promote whatever it is you're trying to promote. But you need to take the time to engage with others... to make sure your conversations are two-way and not just all about you.

Of course, I have yet to write all of my personal eCards, but now that I have the impersonal, self-centered, look-at-me part done, I'm ready to get going!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Obesity Mocumentary - Can it Go Viral?

I've been curious about how YouTube videos "go viral." I went to a Webinar about this the other day. First, you have to have good content. Then you have to share with influential people and ask them to forward on.

Well, my talented son-in-law and comedian, Chris Tidd, made this video starring my daughter, Meg, when she was pregnant. It's a spoof documentary on obesity and it's hilarious! Check it out and if you like it, pass the link on to your network or retweet. Let's see if we can go viral!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best Gift I've Ever Received

You know that scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" when all of George's family and friends gather around helping him out of all the trouble he's in? It always makes me cry. That goodness in people... It's so heart-warming and moving. George realizes what a very rich man he is because of all the people who love him.

That's what I've felt like every day since I've gotten laid off. As I've stressed about the lack of income, I've never felt so rich in the love and support that I've gotten from my friends and family.

I don't think a day has gone by when I haven't been given something. I've had friends take me to lunch -- some of them multiple times! Just last night, a good friend treated me to a play we've wanted to see for months, "Girls Only!" This friend has suffered through breast cancer (an ordeal that can't even compare to a layoff) yet she always remains upbeat and giving. Other friends -- and even strangers -- have sent job leads or emails of encouragement. Even my ex-husband has been extremely generous in his support. I don't normally give him credit. Hearing others' stories of bitter ex-spouses, makes me realize how lucky I am.

The biggest gift was when my neighbors gave me 50,000 frequent flyer miles so that Scotty, my 15-year-old son, and I could get to Sacramento over Thanksgiving week. My father was in the hospital, undergoing life-threatening emergency surgery. Being able to see him and my mother was truly priceless. The amazing thing is, three other people offered me frequent flyer miles, too! (I imposed on my neighbors since I was the closest to them...) That kind of generosity... It's just mind-boggling to me!

Scotty has been a trooper, as usual, too. He's had to give up privacy when we rented out a room. He's asked for less. He helps more. He even offered to run around to trick-or-treat before everyone else so we could give away all the candy he didn't want to the trick-or-treaters that came to our house! (He assured me he was just kidding, though.)

As I accept gift after gift, my heart fills with gratitude. I know I will get a job soon. I so want to reciprocate and I've been waiting to get that job... To have some income so that I could shower my friends with lunches and gifts and invitations to celebrate. I want to show all these generous people that what they are doing matters. That it's filling me up, more than they can know.

I know no one is waiting for me to reciprocate, and, honestly, I don't think I ever could. There is no reciprocal gift. The gift they have given me is in my heart and will be with me forever. The gift of love and support is absolutely the best gift I've ever received. I feel extremely blessed. I'm a very rich woman, indeed.

PS for Friends and Family: This was a long way of telling you that you're not getting much more than love and support for Christmas from me this year, but it's worth a LOT! I'm still trying to figure out how to wrap it up... Hope I didn't spoil the surprise.

Thank You and Love to you all this Christmas...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reusing Blog Content

This morning I blogged about Reusing Blog Content on my QA Blog. I'm actually going to reuse my own content (which references a lot of other blog content) and copy it here. It is perfectly acceptable to promote your own content and something I do regularly! Though people not in social media may think this seems a bit self-centered, those of us that do a lot of social media "stuff" realize that it, in fact, is self-centered, but that's what must be done to get attention.

But what's really great is that it's even easier to promote others' content and means you don't even have to think very hard to come up with something witty of your own! Retweeting in Twitter (done with a RT) is very popular. What it means is that you're passing along content that you like to your network. You give credit to the user who's content you're passing along (using @username) and then those who see the "retweet" may start following the user who originally posted the material. This is looked at as a good thing. The original tweeter feels grateful that you are passing along his or her content.

I haven't seen quite the same kind of nomenclature in the blogging world, though it's very popular to promote someone else's content. Usually you do so by including a link in your blog to the original content.

For example, this morning I read this post on the PractiTest QA Blog by Joel Montvelisky:

Learning Testing from Horse Trainers? (thanks to Adam Goucher)

Joel summarizes that in order to become a professional you will need:

- Talent
- Sacrifice / Selflessness
- Blood, Sweat & Tears
- Determination
- People Skills
- Bravery or Courage
- Character & Intelligence
- Develop a Plan

Adam Goucher's original post was referenced which in turn, referenced bullets and relevant quotes from Jessica Jo Tate, the horse-trainer, from which this whole discussion begins.

Now in the PractiTest QA blog, Joel says:

I don’t usually write blogs about other blogs but this morning I read one in Adam Goucher’s blog that really made it for me, and it was actually based on another article he read on a how to become a professional horse trainer… talk about recycling information :-)

I say... Recycle (ReTweet, ReBlog) away! It's a good thing! It's not like you're stealing someone's content claiming it as your own. You're passing along content that you think is informative and valuable, giving the original owner credit! This leads to readership and additional publicity for the original owner.

Now, I do think if the ONLY thing a blogger does is recycle others' content, THAT can be a little annoying. It's good to add your own commentary and have some original content as well. But, passing along good content to your own network is a very acceptable and welcomed practice in the world of social media.

So if anyone wants to reference this post, which references my QA post which references Joel's post, which references Adam's post, which references Jessica Jo Tate's site... please do!

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