December 31, 2009

Resolution 2010 | 10 Things (part two)

Yesterday we covered five of the ten suggestions for next year.

10. Care A Little Less
9. Give More
8. Do Not Heed
7. Smile and Wave
6. Learn to Say No

Here are five more...

5. Of Course You Can

You have heard it, read it and seen it your entire life. You can do whatever you want if you believe and try hard enough. Are you doing it?

4. Eradicate the Naysayers

Never share your dreams with negative people. What is the point? If you have always wanted to play guitar and finally grabbed the nerve to buy one and take lessons, why would you then ask all your friends if they approve? Naysayers are as common as lint so what's the upside of listening to them?

3. Listen to the Right Voices

"If only I could get another thousand bucks,
I’d start my own business."

"If I have to work in that cubicle one more day,
I think I’m going to drive my car off a bridge."

"Why do we have to listen to her,
she has no idea what she’s doing and she’s the boss."

As soon as you stop listening to the negative voices and start paying closer attention to the ambitious ones, things will change immediately.

2. Trust Yourself More Than You Trust Others

I love to play golf, I don't play it near enough and I am terrible because I think too much. I can crank my driver 250+ yards, straight as an arrow, it is a thing of beauty. And it happens three times a round.

Perhaps it’s time we trusted ourselves more often. This is not about blind arrogance, it's about truly knowing our strengths and going for it.

There is a chance we would crank a lot more 250 yarders off the tee if we didn't over think so much.

1. Quit Your Whining

We love to complain, we find strange comfort in it, we join our colleagues after work to commiserate about our terrible lots in life. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to shut it.

Scientists have yet been able to link complaining to progress.

Happy New Year :-)

business. marketing. social media. communications.

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December 30, 2009

Resolution 2010 | 10 Things (part one)

Will We Do Them This Time?

As a new decade approaches, the lists continue.

The best of the decade, the worst of the 21st century, the famous and infamous and it all means one thing – we love our lists.

Do we just stare at them and nod our collective heads then file them away with previous years, decades and centuries?

How do the lists affect our lives?

Here is a list of ten timeless things to think about. The first five today, second five tomorrow. They can be accomplished no matter your financial stature or geographical limitations.

10. Care A Little Less

We seem to put far too much credence in the opinion of others. Perhaps because we have a need to belong and in order to quantify an idea or success, we need a pat on the head from others.

For just one day, without malice or harm, try not caring about what we think and see what happens. Ideas may flow and we all win.

9. Give More

This is not another suggestion that everything is free and we all hold hands while we tweet and blog into the sunset. The concept of give more, is to suggest that we allow our talents and gifts to shine and replace all the empty boasting that all too often gets the spotlight.

8. Do Not Heed

If you allow the faceless group named ‘them’ to rule your decisions and behavior, you will lead a challenging life. The musician doesn't ask the crowd before she writes the song.

7. Smile and Wave

Imagine you are going about your day and suddenly it becomes clear that someone is having a bad time and is looking to have a fight with anyone they can lure. Nod your head and remove yourself from the situation immediately.

6. Learn to Say No

No is a perfectly acceptable answer and a complete sentence. In our fear of belonging or losing potential customers or slipping our market share we tend to travel for long periods of time outside the pocket. That is when the 300 pound lineman on the other side of scrimmage will crush us.

This is not to suggest we don't stretch but while we try to do everything, we do nothing well. Say no so you can say yes to what matters.

Please to add yours. Part two tomorrow.

Happy New Year :-)

business. marketing. social media. communications.

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December 28, 2009

Resolution 2010 | Three Words

Pick Three

It’s been a tradition forever. As the year ends we all find reasons to make a list.

There’s a list of personal goals, professional benchmarks, habits to break, mind spaces to explore, dreams to realize.

One is the concept of summing up how you want your year to go with three words.

I posed the question today on Twitter.

The question remains, we will follow our three words in 2010?

Here are some responses...

SueVG Learn, Build, Persevere

LindaIreland Challenge. Possibility. Optimism

shiraabel Peace. Love. Prosperity.

prettyh Live life fully!

Robbie_J Get more sleep. Play more golf. talk in person.

AskAroundOttawa Like the idea of 3 words for 2010 much more than resolutions. Shall be giving this some thought.

nlongtin STOP. THE. WARS.

creightonc Health, Sanity, & Fun.

jpblogger What so funny about peace, love and understanding? My three for the ages.

dixbert just be happy.

SuzeMuse perhaps we should all first look at our 2009 three words. Mine were Connect, Difference and Positive. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

SuzeMuse still working on them. My first inclination was beer, wings and nachoes. But that might not work so well. ;)

RendaInDSM Do Something BIG!

kbleggett Peace, Love & Happiness..(sounds cliche but they work for me).

mikesansone Let's Find Out

ottawasteph Poor get poorer.

artistsandy Compassion, Appreciation and Play

LizScherer believe in yourself

What are your three words for 2010?

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December 27, 2009

Books | More Important Than Ever

How many books do you read?

I read and write every day.

But probably like you, I have become victim of the article mentality which consists of short pieces, websites, business manuals and research all tying up time that could be used to read a good book.

The publishing industry is changing like the music industry before it.

Creativity: More Important Than Ever

The ad agency, marketing and public relations models are distant cousins to those a decade ago and online channels are getting more crowded every minute. These are precisely the reasons why we need to read more books.

We are bombarded with material all day long. How much are we seeing and how much are we digesting? How has social media hindered this process?

How much of this content is worthy of our attention and retention?

When was the last time you read a book about your industry or business? How often do you disappear into a book simply to widen your horizons or expand your imagination and ideas?

Must Reads

I bought a bunch of books before the Holidays – all of which are on my ever growing “I really need to finally buy that one and actually read it” list.

And when I refer to books, those include the audio kind as well.

A stack of books resides on my desk. Each will be read (some will be re-read) and replaced by more from the list.

Read (or listen to) any good books lately?


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December 26, 2009

Can Urgency Be Created?

Everything Must Go

The Christmas retail season begins moments after the last trick or treaters are on their way home and ends on Christmas Eve as the stores lock their doors for the night.

This Week Only

This weekend, the stores will be filled with people returning and exchanging Christmas gifts while the retail industry settles in for a long winter’s nap. But in some countries there is one final push to create just a little bit more urgency.
Boxes to Bargains

In the UK, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany and a few others, today is Boxing Day. Originally called St. Steven’s Day, this was when the upper class would give gifts such as clothing and food to the lower classes in boxes for easy transport.

Save up to 80% Today Only

Christmas is on the 25th of December and Boxing Day is on the 26th. But years ago, the retail industry decided to extend the ask and create an even large sense of urgency and excitement with the creation of Boxing Week which began well before Christmas. It's akin to retailers 'chopping down prices' to celebrate the birth of George Washington.

Savings Are Store Wide

If you attempt to create a sense of urgency during your Boxing Week sale, are you not telling customers that your profit margins are too high the rest of the year or that the best time to buy from you is during this limited time?

Boxing Week is a multi-billion dollar event.

Earlier today, Margie Osmond from the Australian National Retailers Association said "We've had a fabulous healthy start to Boxing Day sales which is the biggest shopping day of the year."

Some economists predict that the countries that have adopted the Boxing Week model will see an economic correction from the downturn the rest of this year. It appears that St. Steven has done well for the bottom line.

Perhaps Obama should put it on the to-do list for 2010?

How can you apply this to your business?


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December 25, 2009

Keeping Score at Christmas

It’s Christmas Day and for about half the planet it is a religious day and a day of celebration.

It is also a day of dealing with family members you may not like (keep in mind, they may not like you), expectations set out from the world of marketing and movies, overeating and depression, loneliness and hope.

It Ain't About The Money

I promise not to be another writer commenting about how this annual celebration has turned in to such a commercial and emotional plot twist.

Let’s use today to hit the reset button and figure out what is important to each of us. It’s not the pretty wrapped packages or the traffic jams at mall entrances. It’s lovely to find that special gift for that special someone but is that the real reason we do all this?

Keeping Score

Charlie spent $50 on me and I got him that stupid pen. I wonder what color shirt mom will get me this year; I almost have a complete set. There are too many to buy for, let’s draw names. Do we have to get him something, I don’t even like him. I hope Uncle Brian isn’t going say something inappropriate at Christmas dinner – he did do that thing back in ’91.

Eat too much, hug those you love, extend a hand to those in need and I hope you have a Happy Christmas :-)


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December 23, 2009

Two Wolves

Which One Wins?

A good friend sent this to me yesterday.

Immediately I sent to it to some other friends and thought I’d share it with you.

You may have seen this before, it's been around almost forever and it’s worth another read.

One evening a man told his grandson about a battle
that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.”

“One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

“The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, compassion and faith.”

The grandson then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The man simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Which one do you feed?

marketing and social media strategy

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December 22, 2009

From Boston to Botswana

Who Is Your Target?
If you have a web presence, you should measure who is visiting your space from time to time.

Much to my surprise, this space has grown over three thousand percent since this time last year.

It will be difficult to replicate again but blew me away.

There are readers in 95 countries, all but one Canadian province, every state in the U.S. and over 750 cities worldwide.

We reach places like Kota Kinabalu and Groningen. We have regular visitors from Bucharest and Perth.

A shout out to the person from Tianjin who dropped by and hi to our visitor in Gaborone.

There are readers from San Francisco to Slovenia, Indonesia to Illinois and Edmonton to Estonia.

But that means nothing to you. What does matter is how you may be able to use this type of information for your business.

If you are running a company and thinking about expanding your online presence - good for you. But what's important is your ability to understand why you are doing it and whether you are prepared to stick with it.

Focus on what you offer your customers and ask for feedback. But it's important to note the obvious, no one will find you by osmosis. That's not a digital thing, that's a business thing.

There are millions of sites you could have visited, thanks very much for stopping by here. I hope you found it valuable. If you have suggestions or feedback, fire away.

Happy Holidays :-)

marketing and social media strategy

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December 18, 2009

Resolution 2010 | Let’s Get Stuff Done

Widgets: Take your seats.

If you read this space once in a while, you probably have a couple social media profiles.

Perhaps you tweet and read up on the topic of social networking and see the constant battle between tools and talk.

We can drown in discussion and it’s time for us to move.

And activity does not equal progress - most of us have learned that lesson the hard way.

Twitter will never make you Hemingway, website design templates will not guarantee you a career in user experience and a MacBook Air has yet to give birth to the next Steve Jobs.

We need talent. A lot of it. Now.

Let’s actually collaborate and make some decisions. Let's get creative and spend 100% of our time on the projects we want to do with the people with which we want to do them.

If you have some time off over the Holidays, sift through your network and make a list of the people who you can help and who can help you.

Make another list of the people that compliment your skills and could make potential collaborators on projects. Toss that box of what-if’s, self-doubts and no ways immediately. You will be far too busy for that.

Learn the tools, have fun with the tools, discuss the tools, then let's get some stuff done. You in?

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December 16, 2009

Life and Business | What Matters Now?

Turn off all your electronics and surrender over all your aspirations and do absolutely nothing for a spell.
Elizabeth Gilbert | Ease

Seth Godin is one of the most creative minds we have in this world.

He is not curing disease or changing the trajectory of war, he makes us think and create.

Seth relates to the world of business, marketing and life in an inclusive and engaging way.

Be compassionate to everyone no matter the level of connection.
Mitch Joel | Compassion

Seth has brought together sixty people who have shared a piece of them for us to take with us and think, grow and learn.

And because life is always full of doubt and fears,
to act is to take that leap. So leap.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Leap

This is not just another book of inspiration. This is not simply a group of brilliant thinkers and doers who have shared one page of wisdom each to make up a collection of ideas for our lives.

This is certainly not some expensive buy-in download email laden purchase this program to help line the pockets of its creators.

It was created for us to download, read, share and repeat.

Everyone has their own Mount Everest
they were put on this earth to climb.

Hugh MacLeod | Meaning

This book is FREE. It’s FANTASTIC!

This is something you need to read TODAY and OFTEN.

Never forget, a small group of people can change the world.
Micah Sifry | Nobody

Topics include: evangelism, context, technology, knowledge, change, generosity, sleep, fascination, empathy, power, change, adventure and forty-eight more.

Notice what excites you and scares you
on a small moment-to-moment basis.

Derek Sivers | Passion

Sixty wonderful people have donated their time to create this 82-page free downloadable and sharable e-book. Times are tight, the Holidays are coming up, what a perfect gift to send to everyone.

The One Percenters are often hidden in the crevices of niches,
yet they are the roots of word of mouth.

Jackie Huba | 1%

What Matters Now | Free Download Here

marketing and social media strategy

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December 15, 2009

Building Business | Most Important Ingredient

What Do You Think?

Years ago I worked for a company that asked all of its employees for their opinion. The results were startling. The number one grievance was management’s inability to deal with non-performance. Yes they notice when you fail to deal with issues.

Good enough is not good enough, that will do is worse than don't bother. You need your people to be the best at what they do and it's up to management to create an atmosphere for them to shine. If you think you can shortcut this, call the local sand company and get them to deliver enough to bury your entire body.

Fix What's Broke

If you are in a management position and you are not dealing with these issues, everyone is aware. If you don’t think they are, you are fooling no one but yourself. This was well documented by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point and the chapter Broken Window.

If you don't care, why should they care?

One person is late for a meeting and the boss does nothing about it. Suddenly half the room is late for meetings, dress code rules aren't followed, customers receive sub-par service and profits shrink.

The average person spends 2,000 hours a year at work. If those are enjoyable hours, no one is counting. If they are miserable, time stands still.

What’s the solution?

Creating experiences are the best way to get everyone involved. If it is an atmosphere of encouragement and teamwork, you will see a remarkable difference in morale and productivity.

Who wants to grind it out at work and deal with passive aggressive behavior? We are healing from the worst economic crisis in seven decades, it’s time to get creative and devise ways for us to enjoy the process better.

The most important ingredient in building a business is people.

Without good people, your great ideas may just jangle around your gray matter trying to find a place to land. Remove a solid creative team and the battles will be tougher to win. A company void of a collaborative environment is primed to fail.

If you are like me and consult business, it is important to build a collaborative network of people in and out of clients' companies. I don't know about you, but I want to work with people who want to make a difference and inspire others. If you're not interested in that type of working environment, I wish you well in your future endeavors.

One Works. One Does Not.

Have you ever wondered how one business thrives with fewer resources while another well-financed company can’t seem to find success? You need resources but without encouraged people good luck to you.

Will you deal with non-performance and encourage creative ideas or will you shake your head in disbelief when your ideas aren’t magically turned in to success?

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December 14, 2009

What Is Your Holiday Greeting Prefence?

Email or snail mail. Festive tweet or Christmas card.

It was a difficult year but perhaps we can chalk it up to character building? Let’s go with that. As 2009 draws to an end, some good cheer is being exchanged.

I was speaking with a colleague last week and she had to cut the call short because she had to go write out client Christmas cards.

Then I wondered if we prefer cards or emails or e-cards or Facebook wall posts or think the electronic idea is better for the environment or is it simply important that the message is sent no matter the medium?

It was time for an impromptu Twitter poll. I wondered if you preferred a festive email or card in the mail or did it matter. A shout-out to mom who has been doing cards for decades - received mine last week.

This survey was held at around 8:15am on December 14, 2009 for about ten minutes – aka very official and highly scientific.

Here are the results...

@TWalk I don't send holiday cards, personal or business. Try to keep up with friends year-round.

@Thebookmaven I can't resist real cards in the mail. But some festive/photo emails are really terrific.

@mdbenoit2 Definitely card in the mail.

@SuzeMuse I am pretty proud of myself that I managed to send a few Christmas cards this year.

@tommyvaller I'm going to vote festive coffee or beer meeting. I'd much rather spend 10 minutes in person than any time on the phone. I'm sending the paper ones out today and prefer getting the paper kind, personally.

@fendergurl email always makes it there on time. (maybe a better 'green' holiday option)

@Robbie_J still love the hands-on feel of a proper Christmas card.

@slboval Post please. I am traditional that way.

@HeatherLeson Both. I have a large number of elderly relatives who love hand-written cards. Plus, there's a certain charm in getting mail.

@carolinekealey We did a donation to Snowsuit Fund and an e-card this year, and got lots of positive feedback for the eco-friendly switch

@Florina_B My choice: holiday cards on paper, more personalized...brings more joy

@ivan007 cards please

@AvrilAutopsy I'm old fashioned I like snail mail

@LizScherer I bought cards but have yet to write them. A festive email might suffice. Not mass tho - individual.

@wojtekhoch Both. I do both e-cards and Physical mail. There is something special about handwritten cards.

@Hannechr Prefer to give the greeting in person; but a card is always nice.

@joshchandler Festive email. Ha, there's no original thought or effort made, just electronic bits on a screen (lame!).

@gwenmccauley Holiday cards in the mail or festive email. What is your preference? I prefer to ignore Christmas!

@Lissansky Cards for the bosses, festive Facebook wall posts for everyone else :)

@OttMomGo Send cards in mail and like to get same. Get few email

@kbleggett As green as I try to be I still send out Xmas cards every year to family & friends around the globe.

@KarenHooper Still love to get Christmas cards in the mail.

What is your Holiday greeting preference?

marketing and social media strategy

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December 11, 2009

Resolution 2010 | Business or People?

As 2009 draws to an end, perhaps time for reflection.

The chainsaws I juggle on a daily basis include marketing and social media strategy for public sector (government) clients with the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM).

I am also involved in various charitable initiatives. And I work with business clients through YouIntegrate.

As well, I strive to have at least three in-person meetings each week with someone I’ve never met before as I am always looking to collaborate with new people. So if you are in the Ottawa Canada region and we haven’t had coffee yet, dust off an hour and let's do that. In 2010, the coffee tour will expand to other cities.

It all might be dressed up in the nice neat client-consultant-business relationship but we know it’s not about that. It’s about human beings connecting and helping each other.

One issue has been consistent throughout my 26 year marketing and media career – we humans make a lot of mistakes.

We also have a warped view of our world because it’s our world. But as long as we understand that our emergencies are not others’ priorities, we’re fine.

We have fears and dreams and sometimes misguided views of our business ideas.

We are impatient and have bad moods.

There are selfish not so nice people in the world.

We gain victories without grasping how to recreate them next time.

We make assumptions that others involved in the project share our desired outcome despite the fact we haven’t clearly stated either.

The "global economic crisis" has created paranoia and distrust among nervous and scared people. Everywhere. That behavior solves what, exactly?

As we enter 2010, what can we bring forward and what can we discard?

Perhaps these quotes may help with your decision...

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
Henry Ford

Goals are dreams with deadlines.
Diana Scharf Hunt

Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
Mark Twain

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
Spanish Proverb

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.
David Sarnoff

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.
Ambrose Bierce

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
Oprah Winfrey

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December 10, 2009

Strategy | Everywhere A Sign

Long haired freaky people need not apply.

Do you read the signs?

Do you do anything about the signs that can lead you to the answers?

What about the signs when you meet someone you shouldn't trust?

La La La I Can't Hear Me.

We all need those people in our lives who will kick our butts. But why do we ignore those internal signs that we know will help us?

Where Do We Stumble?

Is it fear of failure? Fear of inaction? Fear of success? Or perhaps some other type of self-sabotage? What will people think, I could never do that, the excuses are piled higher than the signs. Now add that to an organization and you can see how companies can get stuck.

Let's Go For A Ride.

This week Sir Richard Branson announced his new adventure. For a paltry $200,000 (USD) you can be placed on a waiting list to potentially get a ride on his Virgin Galactic flight to the edge of the atmosphere where you will experience weightlessness for four full minutes.

The waiting list is growing daily.

Why is Sir Richard doing this?

Because he put his mind to it and yet again ignored the naysayers and critics. I’d like to think we admire people like Branson.

What would happen if you added even a dash of his guts into your organization?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

Do you see them? Hear them? Pay attention to them?

marketing and social media strategy

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December 8, 2009

We Can't Convince You

Protocol and guidelines, policies and business strategy, tweet this and blog etiquette that can be exhausting. And like this space, it's all just opinion.

If you don’t know why you should have a LinkedIn group or how the content delivered to cell phones is going to help you, don't do it.

If you think Flickr is spelled wrong and Blip just sounds silly, no worries. Or if you don't understand why people are talking about four square when you know you will never lose weight if you eat that much, that's okay.

What Do You Have To Lose?

If you don't understand it, others can't convince you. What we can do is show you options and you can pick the ones that make the most sense to you and your situation.

As part of my job as a strategist, I help clients with business, marketing and social media plans. There are two questions you need to ask through the process - how and why.

Pick A Card. Any Card.

But with digital channels there is no one answer, site, background theme, writing style, logo color or font choice. Pick one, experiment, pick another one, experiment, throw stuff against the wall, collaborate your brains out and have some fun.

The best social media policy I've heard of yet: Don't be stupid. Keep your company or personal brand's best interest in mind, then experiment.


One of the most gifted music minds in history was killed twenty-nine years ago today and his music still lives on. He didn't follow the rules, he didn't ask for permission. John Lennon | Oct 9, 1940 - Dec 8, 1980

And it is with that in mind...

Just ask yourself two simple questions: How? Why?

Then one more: Why Not?

marketing and social media strategy

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December 4, 2009

Everyone's An Expert

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss

My doctor is a good guy. He seems to know what he’s doing. He has framed documents from accredited educational institutions hanging proudly in his office. Doc seems competent. He reads up about new medications, ailments and treatments. He takes training courses and hasn’t stopped learning since the day he left university.

Does that mean he’s an expert?

It appears that the problem is not the word but the use of the word.

"Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience."
Denis Waitely

Perhaps if you call yourself an expert, others view you as arrogant. And if others call you an expert, you must shun their compliments. Perhaps it stems from the perception that you can't back it up. Everyone I know is an expert at something.

Synonyms for expert include:
Specialist, Professional, Authority, Proficient, Skilled.

F1 World Champion Jenson Button is paid handsomely to drive a multi-million dollar race car so he certainly is a specialist – it’s not something most of us can do.

They're Everywhere!

My doctor is professional, my next door neighbor is an authority on lawn care, the dude who owns the restaurant a few miles away has a ton of skill and should be in the burger olympics and my best friend is a specialist with a bunch of big brain stuff I can't pronounce.

I spend most of my time in the world of social media and marketing where - according to some - you aren't allowed to have proficiencies and authority. I have spoken with many who others call experts and in every single case it is not a term they use to describe themselves.

What's all this about the Tweets and Pokes?

Social media is not something for any of us to "get", it is here regardless. Companies and individuals are embracing the mediums in which we socialize and advancing business in the process. I don't "get" how they can put a rocket into the atmosphere but I accept that it is a reality.

Whether you are practicing medicine, helping others collaborate with social tools, keeping weeds out of your lawn or refining ways to handle the chicane; you have skill and you are learning.

"I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions
in which they can learn."
Albert Einstein

Be proud of what you can offer and share it. Tell everyone how you can help, follow your passion and often refer to the good Doctor Geisel.

So, are you an expert?

marketing and social media strategy

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