Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 12 Days of "Christmas" - a new year's retrospective

Given that January was the month that I finally started my blog, I thought it time to review the year that was, and it was...quite a year. To begin, I decided to go random, and just take the first posts from each month. It's quite a 'slice' of my life from the past 12 months. If you feel like it, it might be funny to read them one after the other.

A side note about the title. My husband and I are celebrating our Christmas tomorrow, on New Year's Day. We felt more inclined to celebrate the coming year than to be full of big cheer (and, uh, I took off to Arizona to bask in sunshine, leaving my man behind too....)

January: Varied lives
February: Warm up for Superbowl
March: Summoning Spring
April: 6 weeks today - the heart should already be beating
May: The gears shift
June: My secret food addiction
July: Putting it in reverse
August: Jeez I’m busy and there’s important revelations on television!
September: The Home Stretch – and I mean STRETCH
October: False Economies…and cool professors
November: Hello my old friend
December: Take this to the bank…life isn’t lived through an action plan

Were they my best posts? No, but then, not all days in a year are great days, right?

Next up: A full read-through of my posts - followed by a review of the most notable quotes (if there are any).

Happy New Year everyone - may it be happy, healthy and full of fun and promise!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No time, so just a couple questions!

Okay. Have to pack for my desperately necessary xmas trip to Arizona, but here's the thing. I have a new purpose in my work life. I'm on a social media working group and a number of us are hoping in a few months to present a kick-a** social media strategy to the highers up in our organization. I already have a lot of ideas and a lot of fodder for those ideas, but I have specifically been given the tast to study Twitter and the potential for a blog for our 'arm' of the government.

So...followers and followers of followers...whatcha got? ideas? articles? resources and feeds I should follow? Tell and tell all, 'cause I'm gonna eat it all up!

Thanks, most respectfully, in advance.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Carol - What a ride

It's been a while since I have blogged about pop culture, but hubby and I finally made it out on Sunday night, across town, to one of the coolest 2 hours I have spent in a long time. The new 3D, faithfully rendered, but technologically advanced Disney's "A Christmas Carol" was a trippy, dippy, frightening and fun testament to what can be done with new film technology these days. Add to this the extra trip we took to take it in in IMAX, and I have to took a big film to get me in the Christmas spirit this year, but this did it.

Now, mind, it's kinda dark and scary, so it simply won't attract as wide an audience as it could (young kiddies need not apply for the IMAX reserved seats), but I thought for that reason (and for the reason that it was therefore faithful to the original Dickens tale, as a matter of this course) that it was a refreshing change from the cloying, cartoonized, saccharine treats we generally imbibe at Christmas. I loved it. LOVED. IT.

I presumed the rest of the world would too, but yeesh, these critics are bitchy Bah Humbuggers, aren't they?

So, to will have kids with sustained nightmares on your hands if they go see it, but ditch them and go now, while it is in the theatres in 3D...and if you can get yourself to an IMAX near you, alls the better.

"God bless us everyone."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Deep, deep into the recesses of social media

One of the biggest challenges to operating on the social media stage, I am beginning to realize, is figuring out how to optimize the use of the tools not to listen and interact, but to FILTER. You simply cannot follow everyone and everything out there, and you could spend 24/7 just looking for the info that you want or need. (Who has that kinda time? - Even if it is your job, which at the moment, it isn't, so lob at least 50hrs of the week off my free time right there.)

Take, for example, that I found more value this week in reading an issue of Marketing magazine (print copy) called Brave New World (June 15, 2009) that discussed how marketers can learn to thrive in a new digital landscape, than I did spending hours and hours sorting through Twitter hashtags, links to blog posts and websites and reading my various carefully selected feeds in Google Reader.

What does that mean? It means I have a lot to learn about sifting through my digital information to find the best of the best that applies to what I want to read and see. And let's just say the prospect of figuring this out is daunting. VERY daunting. But that is part of this process, right?

So for now, I am a new convert to picking up my free issues of Marketing magazine from work and reading those on the bus, as well as sifting and sorting and working with tools. Eventually I will have some sorta system, and be better at this.

But a word of caution is that I am WELL aware that in this new mediascape, you will never get too comfortable, and that the tools will be ever-changing, and so really, what you need to define is the philosophy and the key objectives for filtering, and then apply the right, ever-changing tools. Otherwise, you will be lost.

And that's just the listening part of the puzzle that is social media engagement...

Good thing I love this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gosh....I'm so not cool.

I can't take two moves forward without having technology trip me up! Tonight, I can't seem to insert a URL into my tweet on twitter through Tweetdeck. What's up with that? And then, I take a trip to my pretty little beach blog here and see that although I set up a Twitter feed that is SUPPOSED to feed my latest two tweets onto this page, it was in fact streaming, like, 15 strangers tweets on my blog?!? WTF?

And I can't figure out what's wrong! It's THESE little things that a) make me feel totally inept and incompetent and that b) make me very very veeeery frustrated and annnngry.

and THAT's not the look I was goin' for, ya know?

And for posterity sake, here is the web page I was going to tweet about 'cause I knew it would be interesting to my Tfriends...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Me 2 Point Oh

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? We've all heard the question, and now I realize what a conundrum it really is, and how legitimately it applies to a number of situations that might arise in one's life.

Take, for instance, the fact that I REALLY want to work on and launch a second blog that will document my forays into studying, using, recommending and living social media. My trials, my stupidity, my 'ah HA!' moments and my frustrations. I want to document them all - and tell y'all about it, if you care.

Ah, but here's the rub. I don't want to create a URL and drop into another templated free site, but I want to proceed with careful forethought. This is because, as a strategic communicator, I really want to build a brand. I want to target my expertise and build this new second site as the go-to site for insights, information, perspective and my personal professional brand. And I want it to have my personality, and my 'look' and especially have a URL that is memorable.

But I know there are platforms out there that I could still use that are free, and I know that using some of these would be just fine, thank you. But the process? I want to document it, and I need HELP people!

What platforms should I look at and why?
Who knows of some free custom blog designs that are really cool?
What advice do you have for me? I already have the name, and hope that the platforms I use will allow me to link into all my other engagement tools easily, but what else?

Would LOVE your comments and insights. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Take this to the isn't lived through an action plan

It's about control, isn't it, with us? We're raised believing that if we set goals, work hard, come up with a game plan, that we will be successful. We strive, oh how we strive! And guess what? In my life, that has consistently worked out and I have achieved virtually EVERYTHING I have ever wanted to achieve - and yes, I refer to my personal life experiences as well as my professional.

Men and women alike in today's generation feel this way, and believe that life, lived as an action plan, is a great approach to take. I specifically remember a special Grade 9 English and Home Room teacher (A little shout out to Mr. Leo Abbass who is now the Mayor of Happy Valley/Goose Bay, Labrador...) who said to me "Pam, you will be someone who will achieve anything and everything you set your mind to."

We are even led to believe that women's biological nuances can be controlled - our cycles through birth control, our situations through abortion, fertility treatments, etc. There are even drugs that take away our damn monthly visitor! We are IN CONTROL, right? Previous generations never thought this, but our generation certainly did and does.

What I learned today?

It's a load of hooey.

Well, okay, let me back up a bit. What I learned was that life's biggest moments are truly seredipitous, and that to try to control what cannot be controlled will result in confusion, frustration, and, in my case, just a little bit of rage. Specifically, to have suffered three miscarriages in a year has exposed me to a level of experience that is often takes others much longer to achieve. And what this experience means is that I am sensitive to how unfair life can be. In my despair, I became sensitized to other suffering that also was unfair, and saw this through new eyes. There is a reason that many of the aged seem accepting, calm, and take life as it comes. They are in on the secret.

And what is that secret? What has this new experience level ultimately meant to me? I can never see the world in the same way I used to - with unbridled optimism and a full belief that you reap what you sew and that good things will always come to good people etc. etc. etc.

This MAY sound depressing, and believe has been. But thanks to a therapy session today, what it has made me realize is that SOME things in life just will not, cannot, refuse to be, controlled. Action plans won't work.

So what can you do? Well, you can focus instead on what you CAN control - such as your time spent socializing/doing something you enjoy; such as finding jobs and opportunities in which you will thrive; such as moving more, eating better and generally having FUN.

And what will happen while you are out there 'controlling' your fun and living your 'action plan'?

Life will happen.

More specifically, I believe a NEW life will happen.

And I am going to take that to the bank.