Monday, March 28, 2011

Why are you on those social things again?

Ahhh...the question is always the same: Why are you on Twitter?  And while I did start out on Twitter purely for social pleasure, I've learned a lot about how to use it for social interaction and networking.  Here is how it has helped me lately:

I asked some local businesses to raise their hand on Twitter so we could get to know each other.  I was pleased to get a few responses and one person was Michele from Cookie Central.  She and I made a date on a random Friday afternoon for some cookies and conversation at her home where she bakes and delivers her own gift baskets!  She also bakes with a mission - a true mission to end childhood hunger.  I was inspired - and in awe - of her baking talents and commitment. And we did some networking while we chatted.  Simple and social and thanks to Twitter.

Also this month, I was part of a great event hosted by Interise's StreetWise MBA program in Lowell.  Once a session, they invite "experts" to their speed networking night and I was one of the fortunate attendees.  Every 10 minutes I had a fresh, new face in front of me reciting their elevator pitch and asking me what I do at Carlton PR and Marketing.  This interaction was really just a conversation between two people to learn more about each others businesses.

It was a joy. Mainly because I'm a social person and learning about other people fascinates me. But what I really loved is that these 15 companies are all trying to figure out how to better their business. They aren't looking for VC money, or angel investors. In fact most of them have been in business for years as brick and mortars.  They were just looking for new ideas. New approaches. New ways of looking at their existing business. And someone to listen and offer some simple advice.

For 120 minutes (and a couple of drinks after with them) I realized that the real importance of Social Media is the Social part.  I was able to provide insight to them about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and  Foursquare.   Many had heard of these social tools but knew little about how to apply them to their businesses.

I'm also learning that you are either social, or you aren't.  And if you are not, that's not a big deal - but you should find someone that can help your business be social.  If you'd rather sit in the back office and make sure the bills are paid and the orders are filled, that's fine. But in today's increasingly changing economy, creativity and socializing are quickly becoming the norm.  If you see people sitting in your establishment typing away on their smartphones, you need to be aware they could be typing away about your product or service.  I really enjoyed introducing two Pub owners to their Foursquare Mayor (virtually of course) and showed them the 3 positive tips they had on there as well. 

Being involved with mainly technology companies, and innovation events, I have been taking for granted that the local restaurant, gift shop, insurance agent, home painting company, and printing store may need a little more social education to keep their dreams alive.  Growing locally is increasingly critical these days.  Let the social tools help with the introductions, but then really apply the "social" in "social media" and get out to meet your neighbors!!  I guess that's the reason I'm on those social things....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The flood of '10 - I never shared this story??

OMG! I can't believe I crafted this wonderful, heartwarming post and never shared it?  Wow. Let's go back a few months to when the employment opportunities looks credit card debt was increasing...and the sound of water dripping still made my eyes twitch!

November 26, 2010:

I thought I wrote a blog post about the great flood of '08 in our basement, but I can't seem to locate it.  Boy, that was a crazy time.  Lots of memories were drenched in basement water from a hole in the foundation that created a mini waterfall.  We have three sections in our basement - two for storage and one is the kid's play room. It was all soaked that year. Ugh.

We learned our lesson after that...we put everything in plastic bins.  We no longer have anything sitting on the ground...we ripped up and redid our entire basement flooring because it is used by the kids every day.

We were NOT going to be victimized again.

That was until Wednesday around 11:30 when my daughter shouted up from the basement "Mom. I have a problem. The carpet is all wet!"

No Mother-bleeping-way!!!  This was not happening again.

Oh yes sister, it was.  Only instead of a running stream down the wall that covers the floor, this time it was a spewing sump pump pipe that had essentially burst so I had a fountain on my hands - like the pretty ones you see lit up in Las Vegas - only it wasn't Vegas, there were no lights and it WAS NOT PRETTY!

I cried. There were Christmas gifts "stored" in the same area as my new fountain.  Christmas gifts that were now soaking, soggy messes of cardboard and plastic.

I called hubby in a panic because, while I pride myself in handing most household emergencies, I had NO IDEA how to get a sump pump to stop pumping into the air.  After praying I didn't die from electric shock, I stood in the ankle deep water, grabbed the plug and gave a pull.  The water from the ground may have stopped spewing, but the water from my tears had not...then it took about an instant to realize it was over.  Nothing I could do but start to mop up. And cry some more.

And then almost instantly I thought of families whose homes have burned down before the holidays, have been evicted and have lost their homes to foreclosure...and while my carpet was soggy and some gifts were now headed in the trash, I still had heat and a roof over my head. 

The moral of the story - don't pile your Christmas gifts anywhere near water pipes. And be thankful for what you DO have, not what you wish you HAD.  We'll be okay.  A little worn out, but just fine.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Does floss get stuck forever?


That's the sound I ultimately make 20 minutes after I tell my lovely 8 year old that it's time to floss her teeth and she still won't let me near her mouth.

That girl could talk rubber off a tire - she has every excuse in the WORLD as to why she doesn't (and can't) floss. Lately it's: "It'll get stuck."

But at the end of the day (or night) it's ultimately terror. She is terrified of anyone trying to come towards her mouth. And I've tried to let her to floss herself but her attempts are insufficient - she just bounces the floss on the top of her teeth and exclaims, "I did it." No you didn't sister - I was watching.

She laughed the other day and I caught a glimpse into her mouth and the tarter and plaque we JUST got off her teeth at the dentist in December was back - she just doesn't take good care of her mouth.

So, here's my question to you parents: Will she outgrow this or is it time for some help? I asked her if she'd like to talk to someone about her fear because as I shake my head and think "What more can I do?", I am starting to think there isn't much more I really can do.

Oh, and yes, I still do pin her down to floss. Horrific. Bad parenting. Traumatic. But the only alternative is cavities and the *thought* of her having to deal with that is worth losing the Parent of the Year Award, for sure!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Did we skip March in 2011?

Excuse me while I panic - where did March go?  Seriously. Because I can't believe my last post was February 25th - and as my GF Julie pointed out - my blogs a-been neglected.

Life has been moving at the speed  As the kids take over my calendar and as I try to drum up new business for my new business (see here: Carlton PR and Marketing), I suddenly realize my spare moments to share and document our silly lives have dwindled to spare seconds.

I'm still a bit frustrated at my lack of "routine" - which is something I miss so dearly from my life last year at this time - but I'm also excited about the "what can be" that is ahead of me.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed that we're able to push along with some prospects and reach the tipping point with the company, and that Abby will someday allow me to floss her teeth (blog post coming) and that Alex will stop growing up because man do I miss my little boy who is quickly turning into a big kid!

Happy Spring - I hear the birds chirping (or perhaps complaining about the COLD weather at the end of March) outside my window and look forward to the change of season that always awakens our spirit.