Category Archives: Social Media

In the ever changing world of social media, this is my attempt to serve others well. Discover what works, and oftentimes, what doesn’t, as it relates to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Vine.

Where Dreams Come to Happen: Success Stories from the Start Experiment

More than just a bunch of quirky, world changers but quirky nonetheless.

More than just a bunch of quirky, world changers but quirky nonetheless.

30 Days ago I joined a movement that I’m pretty sure is going to get this world’s attention eventually. It all started with an email sent by best selling author, Jon Acuff, that simply said, “Adventurers Wanted.” That’s it. There was a form to fill in.

I have an odd affection for vague adventures, and I respect Jon, so I just went ahead and drank the kool-aid.

This online, Facebook group is called ‘The Start Experiment’ and is based on Jon’s best selling book, START. All participants are asked to identify a risk.  My risk for the first 24 days was to create a blueprint for a program that would eradicate childhood obesity in my county 1 family at a time.  I completed it.

My new 24 day risk is to implement the program I created and begin training to get on the cover of The Challenge Magazine. So far, so good!

All this may sound pretty insignificant until you realize that there are nearly 3,500 other starters in the group of varying ages, demographics & interests!

Here’s the thing…We are making a ‘ding in the universe’ and I wanted to share just a few examples of the Awesomeness that happened in just the first 24 days:

Read the rest of this entry

If You Can’t Post Anything Nice.. – How to Avoid & Resolve Conflict on Social Media

ImageAdmittedly, I know more about Facebook than I should.  I could wrap it around something noble but honestly, I’m just sort of addicted to the whole thing.  I love to interact with people and play connect-the-dots with relationships in an effort to make this world a bit more Awesome!

I’ve noticed several trends regarding Facebook statuses lately and they’re not helping you. I’m writing this post in an attempt to help some folks out. While there are many breeds of toxic updates I’ve chosen to address 2 of the most prevalent.

Let me first start out by saying that your Facebook persona is more powerful than you probably realize.  It casts either a light or a shadow upon your audience about who you are and what you stand for. If you’ve made it this far in the post then you are probably open to even caring about this so let’s proceed.

Unhealthy Facebook Statuses:

-Posting a status that is derogatory about someone directly.  You tag them, you’re angry, you feel better (for now).

-Posting a status that is angry in tone & vague as to who it’s intended for.  This person is actually hoping that a specific person sees it or that someone makes sure he/she does.

Why These Posts are Toxic:

I’ve had several conversations with people about this topic.  I’ve heard many give me the justification that it’s important to ‘be real’ on Facebook.  It’s interesting to me that the defense of ‘being real’ is only given to justify negativity.

Here’s why these posts are toxic.

The problem with social media is that it gives every voice & opinion equal weight into YOUR life. By airing out your problems to the world you are opening yourself up to a barrage of negativity wrapped in a cloak of concern.

While Facebook may not be ‘real life’ I can assure you it will find it’s way into yours…sooner or later.  I say later because by choosing to air out your rant you cannot control who among your friends thinks it was intended for them.  Perceived confrontation is more damaging than literal confrontation because one has time to fester while the other is over & done with. Like I said, not scientific but true nonetheless.

The Antidote:

Instead of deciding to air out your anger & frustration to the world I encourage you to pick up that smartphone of yours and ‘phone a friend.’  I’m totally aware that this is old school but I’m am determined to bring it back and can accomplish it with your help! You may choose to contact the person you are upset at or call someone who you respect and admire to give you advice on how to best proceed with this conflict.  Opening yourself up to the advice of those who don’t have your best interests at heart is toxic.  Keep your drama off Facebook!

Letters on a screen lack emotion. You know it’s true.  How many times have you misinterpreted what someone meant?  How did that make you feel once you found out the truth of the matter that you misread their emotion?

Relationships are too valuable. 

Don’t put yours at risk because you forgot an emoticon! :/

Social media is a beautiful and powerful thing but it cannot replace the authentic interaction of two souls.  There is a valuable substance contained in the human voice that Facebook & Twitter simply can’t compete with.  Here’s my Challenge to you:

Take the Facebook Challenge:

Identify 1 friend or follower on social media who you feel at a distance from because of something that happened on Facebook, Twitter etc.  It’s really hard for me to explain what I mean by this but, chances are, you know what I’m talking about.  This next part is the real challenge.

Call them just to say, Hi.  Simply to catch up.  They may not even know that you perceive a conflict so don’t mention it.  Whether this call ends awkwardly or with exuberant tears of reconciliation from years of neglect doesn’t matter.  You are not picking up the phone because you have an agenda but, rather, because you have a friend! 

I give you permission to be scared about taking this first step but I encourage you to take it anyway. If you do not value the relationship enough to make a phone call or the other person refuses to speak with you then I encourage you to ‘unfriend’ or block them asap.  Drama has a way of distracting you on your pursuit of awesome and ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!

Please let me know what I missed & how your challenge went in the comments below.

At the Edge of Starting

ImageI’ve joined a secret society of folks seeking whatever their own flavor of awesome may be.  This all started when I answered an email that referred to ‘Taking on a Challenge’ which was sent by my friend, Jon Acuff. I say friend because he follows me on Twitter & I actually met him once. He wrote some words in a book I was holding. Since his name was on the cover I think he felt entitled. I digress.

I find myself on the edge of starting and I don’t even know why I’m excited.  It’s not like I wasn’t already headed somewhere.  This month is already geared to be one of the greatest our home-based business has ever experienced.  So why am I so jazzed right now?

I think I’m excited because over 2000 other people responded to that same email.  We’re all jockeying around in the Starting gate waiting for the doors to bust wide open. We’ll be separated in groups of 24 and partnered with 1 other Starter to begin a journey on our distinct road to Awesome.

Details would be great right now but I sorta’ like this nervous energy.  A pilgrimage is about to begun from the land of Mediocrity towards the valley of Trying on our way to the mountaintop of Awesome and I am ready.

My plan is not to really mention this  experiment while I’m traveling these next few weeks.  I’ve been advised to put my bullhorn down by Jon & just go out and DO Awesome instead of talking about doing it.

We stand ready at the edge of Starting.

May Average be left on the shore

Our sails billow forward with Awesome

Toward a Challenge for those who want more!

If you haven’t read Jon’s book, START , yet I fully recommend you do. It’s THAT Good!

Finding Pleasure in Another’s Pain- Why I Don’t Watch the News

Image Do you know every detail about the Paula Deen, ‘N-Word Gate’, scandal?  Can you already untangle every knot of the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation?  Have you already stuck your  George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin flag in the sand despite the fact that the jury hasn’t even seen all the evidence yet? Are you so wrapped up in a hometown scandal  that it has become the commanding topic amid the coffee shops & water coolers of your life? Did you just get upset because you think I’m calling you out? Read on.

I’m all for being informed. I realize the importance of creating a healthy dialogue when a current event exposes a deeper issue. My concern is that many people are more concerned with being loud  and right than being informed & kind.

I think people crave bad news because it distracts them from the monotony of their own daily life.  It is, for some, a soothing salve that numbs.

I am a lover of ideas & if there’s one thing I learned from Jim Rohn it is this.

Good ideas flow out of thankfulness & gratitude but cynisism locks all the doors.  If you want to be miserable become a practiced cynic.

The problem with focusing on negative news is that it becomes a vacuum that leaves folks more cynical than they were before. True, life ain’t all sunshine & rainbows, but its not all violence, murder & racism either.

If you are guilty as charged when it comes to the amount of time & passion you are investing into the tragedies of others, then here is today’s Challenge for you:

Consciously make an attempt to focus on negatives only in an effort to form a solution…not to sensationalize them.  If you are passionate about a specific topic that is at the center of ‘Scandal Dujour’ then, by all means, channel that passion towards a solution.  Bantering back & forth to see who can get the most likes on a comment thread may not exactly be the answer.  John Mayer talks about the triviality of our angry rants in his song, ‘Belief’:

“Is there anyone who
Ever remembers changing there mind from
The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time”

Next week, after all the newspapers & magazines have been sold, after all the blogs have been visited & monetized, and as the scandal specific #hashtags are fading from Twitter & Facebook a brand new Outrage will arise.  I promise.  If you’re already wrapped up in one of these spectacles then go ahead and keep watch over it if you wish.  I’ve shared an idea with you and now it is a seed inside your head.  You can ignore it, be cynical of it or apply it to your life in some way.  It’s YOUR life, I’d recommend you focus on it.

How a Facebook Group is Impacting an Entire Town – What I Love About Lakeland Business Leaders

Something beautiful has begun to settle into the very fabric of our culture here in Lakeland.

The week I retired from a 15 year teaching career to pursue my Network Marketing business full-time I joined a small group of local business owners in a Facebook group called, Lakeland Business Leaders.  Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with myself all day.  My entire existence from Kindergarten straight on through my 30’s had been centered around school hours.  I just knew that if I was going to succeed I needed to surround myself with people who were already in business for themselves. I was desperate.

I actually discovered LBL after seeing a ticker feed where a friend who was also in my company had spammed the entire group with a silly ad on how to ‘get rich quick’.  Choking back my gag reflex, I clicked the link to check out what this group was about expecting it to be just another spamming forum.  Clicking that one link however, turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Lakeland Business Leaders was started by Chrissanne Long and Craig Hosking in December, 2011.  The mission statement of LBL is not just lip-service but, I’ve found, entirely accurate as to what is being accomplished as a result of the group:

The Mission of the Lakeland Business Leaders

“To create a sustainable, evolving presence within Lakeland that leads and supports the ongoing development of an economically and socially vibrant community for our businesses and families.”

Here are some things I’ve grown to love about the LBL Group:

-We are not stuffy.  We wear jeans if we feel like it and will be among the first to roll up our sleeves to help others.

The vibe of the Facebook group is one of transparency & professionalism.  Tough questions pertaining to business, life & all points in between are posted and responded to without childish drama.  We seek to create solutions; it’s what entrepreneurs do.

We take our conversations to real life.  The ability to talk to others & present in a group has been a fundamental key to success in my field.  The weekly LBL breakfasts, monthly meet & greets as well as special events provides a safe training ground for how to communicate effectively with others.

Spamming is not allowed in the group.  In fact, only Premium Members can post about the products & services they offer and, truth be told, they rarely do.  Because there is a full-time moderator who is being compensated for her efforts the group can be adequately managed & moderated without having to burden a volunteer army with such a daunting & thankless task.

Now, I shop local! Even though I’ve called Lakeland my home for over 20 years now I never really had the desire or felt the urgency to shop local.  LBL was instrumental in bringing Cash Mobs to my town. As a result, my eyes were suddenly opened to just how integral my purchases are to my fellow small business owners. My family was actually featured in an article in the Lakeland Ledger.  It was a brilliant interview where I basically shared that I bought a mailbox and took my family out to a restaurant….but those 2 activities mattered to those small businesses that day! I learned that where we spent our dollars mattered as a result of LBL.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing of all about the Lakeland Business Leaders group is that I’m pretty sure it’s not happening anywhere else in our country.  I’m certain if I looked deep enough, I’d find something similar but I’m almost certain there’s nothing even remotely as beautiful as LBL.  If I’m wrong PLEASE share a link in the comments below because I’d love to learn from them!

What If??

What if this concept caught on in communities all throughout the U.S & beyond?  What if the right leaders took the initiative to create what has been born right here in little-old, Lakeland, Florida?

Something beautiful has begun to settle into the very fabric of our culture here in Lakeland, my friends. A like-minded & passionate group of individuals have partnered together to create a community that is both economically & socially vibrant for our businesses & families.

The Challenge:

If you live in Lakeland, I welcome you to join us…we need you!

If you are reading this from your hometown somewhere far away that you love, I challenge you to love your community enough to bring something beautiful to the place you call home.


The Writer’s Struggle or Why I Avoid Arguments

Be Inspired. Be inspiring.Writing, for me, is a lot like having an argument.

A much needed healthy, argument.

I’d much prefer to simply solve a problem than talk about it & get all messy with the stickiness of feelings.

Even right now, I have this conflicting-deepness in the pit of my stomach. My senses are urging me to back out of writing this…to refill my coffee…to post a quote somewhere…to pray…do laundry…or………….

I’ve decided to write because, even though I loathe the pressure I feel when my keys are rat-a-tat-tatting on my keyboard, I’ve discovered the relief of resolution after each paragraph I pen.

I had a blogging friend ask me the other day what I wanted ‘the customer’ to do when they visited my blog, and I don’t think I’m ready for any sort of customer just yet. Maybe one day I’ll learn all about monetizing my blog, but right now I’m just searching for you.

My hope in blogging is that you, the reader, is out there. That you find value & meaning in these words.

Every now & again I get followed by someone whose blog has a heartbeat to it. Their words & content have an authenticity & a distinct rhythm to the patterns of a life actually being lived. I like to follow those folks.

Anyone else like me out there? I’d love to read & comment on your blog if you have one.

Why #Hashtags Are More Than Just Annoying – Thank You Facebook!

Facebook has just begun to roll out the use of Hashtags on their platform. Did you know that they actually do serve a purpose besides being yet another tactic for tech savvy teenagers & hipsters to annoy the rest of humanity. Now that they’ve JUST become available on mobile devices (update your app) here’s why I’m happy that Facebook has joined the hashtag party.

When you post something from your computer onto Facebook now preceded by the # sign it becomes a clickable link. That link takes you to a feed of all of the other people who have posted an update with the same hashtag included. Why is this helpful?

While you are sure to find plenty of idiots who are rambling on about whatever, it does allow you access to people who are interested in the same thing you are at the same time you were interested in it. Let me give you some examples:

Instant News- During the #BostonBombings I used that hashtag to search for people who tweeted about it immediately after it happened. This allowed me instant access to information folks were sharing from the scene. That may not intrigue you but it certainly was a powerful resource for me.

Instant Info- Suppose you didn’t know what a hashtag (or some other trendy term) even was. I posted a status last night on Facebook and included #Hashtag in the post. When I clicked on it I found that one of my friends had posted the official Facebook article explaining their new roll out. *WARNING (I did a similar search a few weeks back for #Twerk on a video app called Vine because I did not know what it was. Friends, be careful what you ask for :/ )

Instant Leads- Hashtag search functionality also can help you locate people who are talking about the products/services you currently offer. From a business standpoint, this is what really excites me. For years now I’ve used the hashtag search feature on Twitter to identify people who unwittingly let me know that they need what I offer. The fact is, most people use hashtags as a part of the social media culture but savvy businesses have been using them to identify potential customers.

For instance, a person might post: “I just hate going to the #gym. It’s always so crowded! #feelingfrustrated” A personal trainer who caters to in-home clients like my friend, Denny Krahe or a small gym owner who understands the hashtag search option now has a prospective client he/she can offer services to simply because the social media platform narrowed the conversation down to only those talking about the #gym. This method of marketing does take time and is certainly not for everyone.

Ok, what have I missed?

What are the other useful purposes for hashtags on Facebook that you know of?

What potential dangers does this new feature bring to users.