Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Have This Notebook of Lists

So I have this notebook that sits to the left of my computer (I am left handed). I write down lists. Work lists. Blog lists. Political Lists. Home lists. This week lists. Next week lists. And I can't turn the page until my lists are cleared up. Each list has something I have to do on it.

I just figured out today I can turn the page, if I blog about what is left on the lists! Hold on, I have a lot of lists and thoughts and want to put them into some form of cohesive order. I've numbered the lists (for northernchick, add her to your twitter list please). I'd really like to turn the page to a clean sheet. Nothing like starting out with a clean sheet.

Political List

1. Why does Obama keep talking about spreading the wealth? I have a friend who is transferring her hard earned money offshore - because she believes it will be taken from her. Why not read what he ACTUALLY said? Jake Tapper at ABC wrote about it here:

2. When does early voting stop? I called the Franklin County Auditors office: Monday November 3. You just need to call your own auditor's office and find out the hours and location for early voting.

Newspaper List

I'm the editor of a local newspaper and write articles all the time (see the interview earlier with Chris Brogan - it went in my newspaper!).

1. Getting Fit + Social Media + Blogging = Social Good. Okay, I'm out of shape. I want to get into shape. Let me tie that into helping out someone - and I think I can do it! I signed up to be an everyday athlete (look under how you can help). So here I am putting that out there -- another thing to hold me accountable for!

2. Think Big - Keith Burtis wrote a blog about thinking big. So I'm putting together a list too (I love lists!). Put your list together and I'll share them on my blog! If appropriate, they will go in the newspaper too. Either put them in a comment, or email them to Here is Keith's list:

Blog List

Things I am thinking about writing about.

1. hairy legs -- I feel the need to talk about why some women have hairy legs and why some don't, Europe against U.S. views, skin care

2. Tribes: by Seth Godin Now if you've never heard of Seth Godin, get off your butt and investigate. This is Seth's latest book, I've got it on order, and you should too. Visit his blog at: Let him change your life.

3. Thank you to all my political activist friends. I have volunteered for the Obama campaign for two years now. I have had the pleasure to work with some of the most amazing people! Their jobs are about to end. I plan to write about some of them and to thank them all.

Home List

1. Add wood guy to network page on That would be Keith Burtis (see above). If you wish to be added to my network list, send me an email at on who you are, what you do and why you want to network.

2. Send belated birthday card to Judy. I have this great box. It's filled with all kinds of cards for all kinds of occassions. I go to yard sales and collect them. It's doesn't mean I'm good at mailing them though. I have a lot of blank cards and belated cards that get used frequently.

3. download music from emusic. I get 50 songs each month and I'm about 150 songs behind. I want to stop my account, but I don't want to lose my songs!

4. watch 99 balloons on I did. I cried.

5. error codes 80246007 and 80070490 - okay, so two of my updates keep giving me these error codes. Either take the laptop into my guy, or someone will email me how to fix them (that is a subtle hint).

Work List

1. step up the plan for my home business

2. make some calls - everyday, consistently

3. send thank you to the boss you laid me off from my 'day job' right before Christmas

I transferred my next week list to the clean page. Ahh - deep breath, now I have some more room to write. To make more lists - for next week! I'll be able to clean these lists up by Sunday!
Comments graciously accepted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Is Chris Brogan? And What Is Social Media?

I met Chris Brogan on – which is a website you microblog on. Chris Brogan is a ten year veteran of using social media and technology to build digital relationships for businesses, organizations, and individuals. Chris speaks, blogs, writes articles, and makes media of all kinds at, a blog in the top 20 of the Advertising Age Power150, and in the top 100 on Technorati. Chris is also the cofounder of the PodCamp new media conference series, exploring the use of new media community tools to extend and build value. He currently serves as VP Strategy & Technology at CrossTech Media, an integrated media and events business. Chris frequently speaks at and attends marketing and social media events, sharing his passion for all things social media.

Chris won the Mass High Tech All Stars award for thought leaders for 2008. He has been quoted in US News & World Report, The Montreal Gazette, Newsweek, and some other places. It is my honor to interview Chris.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I live in Northern Massachusetts with my wife and two small kids. I live in a reclaimed factory building one block from a swimmable lake and two miles from the ocean.

What is social networking and why should I care?

Social networking is an online tool for making relationships along the lines of interests versus geography. Though you can use the tools to find people in your town and keep in touch, it's a great way to share interests that might not correspond with your neighbors. Maybe you're a back yard model rocket maker or maybe you're interested in forensic computing (how to recover data from dead computers), or maybe you're passionate about growing the best tomatoes. Social networks can connect you with other folks.

Okay, say I don't know anything about this social networking phenomenon - how can it work for my company?

Imagine you are a company with a phone and a fax machine and maybe a Yellow Pages ad. Those are all great. That's how we've done business since the 1970s. In lots of ways, social media and social networks are just the new phones of 2008 and beyond. You need to install a social phone to be able to answer it and do business.

Should you rush out and start raving about your own products and services? No! But you should get into these communities, learn how people talk about things, and make a few attempts at getting to understand how conversations happen, and how people signal their readiness to talk business. Sound like work? It is, but is it important? Sure.

Professionally, I teach businesses how to build and then answer their own social phones. I show them which tools might work well for which organizations, and I give them ideas on how to use the web in a human way to deliver more potential business relationships. I do this through consulting and execution, as well as through running events like the New Marketing Bootcamps that I run all over the US formally.

We are big believers in shopping local. How does your business fit into that model?

I love shopping local! Here's the crazy thing: I travel ALL the time, so "local" to me equals somewhere that I've arrived at via an airplane. My first step off a plane is to Google, so that I can ask it where things are. If you're doing paper-only marketing and advertising, you've lost my dollars already. Because I'll probably browse the local newspaper, and I might or might not see the ads. But I'll definitely 100% of the time ask Google where things are. If you're not maintaining some kind of active, useful, indexed web presence (a page that acts like a billboard doesn't count), then I'm probably not going to see you.

What kind of things should I be learning - or be involved in - online?

You should be learning how to extend everything you do into the web world. It's great to have word of mouth in person, but that doesn't last. There's no trace, no artifact, no record. If it's done online, too, it's there forever.

Where are you speaking this year? Where can I get more info about you?

Where aren't I speaking? I feel more active than a rockband. I try to keep people updated on my blog at . Hopefully, I'll see you in person at some point.

What's coming in the future - any predictions?

I think there will be "velvet rope" social networks, meaning much more targeted and private. Our profiles will move between them, like currency in a credit card. That will be good for us, because the networks that are prevalent now, things like Facebook and Twitter, take a while before they make sense, but there are signs of better things to come. Sites like Angie's List, Yelp, and Craigslist are the harbingers of what might come from more targeted networks, especially for smaller businesses. And while you're at it check out, which might also be useful to a small business leader.

Thanks Chris - it was great speaking with you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why shop local?

Why shop local? The most obvious reason is to keep dollars in your local community. Your shopping can help keep someone else's business stay open. I live in a county of just over 10,000 people. Our local stores here are having a hard go of it. Wal-Mart has painted the image that their products are cheaper, better - and they have more of them. Do the math. How much are you spending on gas to get to and from the store? How much is your time worth? How much extra do you spend once you get there? Where are their products made (are you supporting Chinese economy or American economy)?

Next time you buy a book online, buy it from The Kaleidoscope at Free shipping anywhere in the continental USA.This is a local brick and mortar store in my community. So next time you go to order from Amazon (who does not pay state taxes) - shop from an independent book store! I get much better customer service from my local independent bookstore, who, by the way, spends the money she earns right here in my community!

Where do you buy your spices? Remember Watkins? Only the freshest and best spices on the market. My local Watkins woman is Denise Passehl.You can find her at 140 years in business in Winona, Minnesota.

Then there's my business, which you will read more about in the days to come. I set up accounts for an Idaho Falls Idaho company. They have over 400 products for your home and your health. Cleaning products, supplements, beauty, over the counter pharmeceuticals, and bath and body. Made in the U.S., non-toxic, less expensive that store brand, effective and delivered to your door. You are already buying most of these products somewhere! Let me be clear - I do NOT sell products. My job is to introduce you to the company, set up your account, and be your shopping coach for as longas you need me. is a good place to start - see where you might have toxins in your home!

Patrick Palmer is my computer guy. If I need help cleaning out the junk, or setting up routers and servers - I call Patrick. He also can access your computer remotely and repair it, if possible. He's honest, and good at his craft - and affordable.

I've just highlighted four different businesses - three are brick and mortar along with online, and one is mostly online/onphone. All are small, entrepeneurial businesses located in the county I live in. You could buy books at Amazon, spices at Krogers, cleaners and vitamins at Wal-Mart, and use geek squad for computer help. But why would you?

Isn't customer service what you really want? If the price is better (or lower), if you save money on gas and time, if you can put a name and face with your account, if you can actually call someone and know you'll get help - why wouldn't you?

Good morning

Good morning all! I was working on my personal website this weekend and was pretty amazed at how much content I actually have on it. I love to travel and would make my living doing it - if I could. Cats, husband, job, old parents - all things that stop me from doing so. At least those are my excuses today.

So roam around the site, go to Hawaii or Alaska, send me an email if you want me to add your business/website to the networking page.

Feel free to offer suggestions. I only ask that you remember, it is a personal site and mostly just for fun!