Supreme Reflections

reflections in a pot image

reflections in a pot image

After watching Jay Baer’s live-streamed video remarks during the Content Marketing Institute’s recent CMWorld 2013 event, I’ve recently begun to read his book, “Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype.

I’ve only reached page 12 in the first chapter of the book and have already learned many interesting facts, including this one that Baer attributes to The Nielsen Company’s blog post entitled, “Buzz in the Blogosphere: Millions More Bloggers and Blog Readers”:

  • “According to Nielsen’s NM Incite research, there were more than 173 million blogs in late 2011.”

173 million blogs?  I have to admit that the statistic leaves me wondering if my voice and humble blog contribution,, can break through the loud chorus that is blogspeak in today’s world.

However, like Baer might say, I think that a blog and its messaging can break through if the blog speaks to the needs of its readers and provides information that is helpful and useful to those readers.

I don’t think I’m meeting the “providing Youtility” threshold with every post, but I’m shooting in that direction.  With each post that I share, I try to educate, and, at a minimum, I hope that readers learn one fact that they didn’t know before reading.

Speaking of…did you know that yesterday was the autumnal equinox (first official day of fall) in the northern hemisphere?

Fall is often heralded as a season for reflection.  For some reason, when I first thought about the word reflection yesterday, in my mind’s ear, I could hear the Supremes singing their famous song that is titled, “Reflections.

What about you?  What do you think of when you consider the word, “reflection,” and, when was the last time that you reflected upon your life and current state of being?

Fall is synonymous with a busy time here in the U.S.  I hope that fall 2013 will allow you at least a few moments to reflect and hear the sounds of the things that bring you joy and enliven your soul  — those things that move your spirit in the most natural and effortless way, like the colorful leaves gently falling from the trees.

Sharing Old News

Old News newspaper image -

Old News newspaper image –

What I’m about to share is old news.  Literally.

To what exactly am I referring?  I’m referring to the fact that this post is a “scheduled post,” i.e. I drafted this post in advance of today and used an automated scheduling feature within my WordPress application to publish this content to you on today’s date (Monday, August 19, 2013) and at a specific time.

Have you ever considered the age of the content within the individual blog posts that you read?

Since blogs and other social media channels have surfaced as news vehicles, these new digital channels have been touted as ideal platforms for sharing “late-breaking,” real-time news information.

But, is this age of instantaneous news a reality when a good majority of the social content being shared today has been prescheduled?

As a holder of a journalism degree, I’m comfortable with the concept of an editorial calendar, and the fact that social media content creators today may be using content scheduling applications doesn’t surprise me, but, what about you?  At this time when digital news channels are so dominant, do you think the news information that you receive is really new?

Though this is my first scheduled post, I can understand how other bloggers could appreciate the flexibility of prescheduling their posts from a blog management and administrative perspective.  Can you think of reasons why a blogger might want or need to schedule posts in advance?

Already, there’s some evidence that prescheduled posts yield poorer engagement results than manual postings by digital markers, however, I think it’s more important to consider whether or not scheduled online news postings could pose harm to readers.  For example, are readers being deceived in any way if they read a post on a certain day that was written months before?

As long as online news channel subscribers are aware that today’s social media channel content, including its timing, may not be exactly as it seems, I think readers will be ok.

And, with this post, I’m doing my part to inform and share this news, which as I mentioned before, is not new.

Backtrack Thinking and Reverse Calling's accidental butt dial image’s accidental butt dial image

The last post I drafted was my 100th consecutive weekly posting.

Ironically, my annual beach vacation started a week ago today, and I promptly missed drafting a weekly post last Sunday.  Therefore, today’s post, my 101th, will be a “double post,” featuring two, unrelated topics that you will hopefully find somewhat interesting:

Topic 1:  Gertrude Stein

Why Gertrude?  Well, have you ever said or thought something and wondered if you were the true originator of those specific words or thoughts?  That’s what happened to me recently with Gertrude Stein.

Though we haven’t visited Paris together yet and even though my husband’s family originates from Galicia, Spain, he and I have often happily spoken these words to each other, “North Carolina is where we live, but Paris is our home.”

For a few years now, I’ve been thinking that the expression was “our little saying,” but, I recently began questioning that thinking after glimpsing a scene from The Devil Wears Prada movie that was re-airing on TV.

During the scene, I heard a voice say that Gertrude Stein once stated, “America is my country, and Paris is my hometown.”  Upon hearing the statement, I asked myself the question, “Didn’t I already think of that?” and then came to the conclusion that “our little saying” wasn’t solely ours.  Again, what about you?  Have you ever caught yourself questioning whether your statements and/or thoughts are original ideas?

Topic 2:  Reverse Butt Calls

In this age of mobile computing, you may have heard about or experienced butt calls, but are you aware of reverse butt calls?

A teenager recently educated me about both terms and the difference between the two – the former being an unintentional dialing instance and the latter being an intentional call action taken by a caller who wants to deliver a particular message to the dialed recipient but wants the dialed recipient to believe that the call and message were delivered unintentionally.

I remember making a few prank phone calls with friends using a good old rotary dial phone back during my teenage days, but the idea of reverse butt calling someone seems a bit more complicated and a bit less fun.  Would you agree?

If so, I would bet your chronological age is well beyond those fun, challenging and unforgettable year numbers between 13 and 19.

Are Podcasts Making a Comeback? podcast icon image podcast icon image

Be My Guest, Blogger

Welcome Mat

Welcome Guest Blogging

For those of you out there trying to improve your Web site’s organic search rankings and optimize your Web site for SEO, consider guest blogging strategies.

Guest blogging is a fantastic way to naturally build your organization’s brand visibility and organic search rank on search engine sites.

So, what is guest blogging?  In this Koozai video, James Perrin explains that guest blogging occurs when a website’s owner publishes content on his or her website that is written by someone else.  According to Perrin, key benefits include:

1-    Enhanced visibility of your site’s content;

2-    Enhanced social sharing of your site’s content (your content will most likely be shared, and social sharing is a huge ranking factor with SEO);

3-    Relevancy and quality of Web sites – when guest blogging, you write for sites that are of high relevancy and quality for your industry, which will pass authority onto the link that you’re trying to optimize;

4-    Page Link – you’ll be writing for Web sites that have a higher page rank than those links found on blog spinning sites; and

5-    Enhanced PR, branding and marketing for your site via enhanced exposure.

Where can you find guest blogging opportunites?  Perrin suggests sites like Guest Blog It but also suggests sourcing on your own.

In this post, I’m taking a different spin with guest-blogging.  I’ve  invited a guest blogger, with pen name Josifina O’Brien, to co-write the remainder of this post.  Here is Josifina’s contribution:

Have you ever read an amazing book and then gone to see the movie adaptation and found that the adaption has missed all the key points and details of the book?  Or, have you ever had the book become real at the movies, down to the very color of the characters’ hair?

Movie adaptations of popular books are a common thing to see at any movie theater but that doesn’t mean audiences appreciate how their favorite books were adapted. The magic of the movies is really highlighted when a movie adaptation turns out right.  Here are some of my examples of book-to-movie adaptations that turned out right:

 1. Gone With the Wind

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe

3. The Notebook

Of course, there are adaptations that bomb…completely. Here are some movies that I am aware of that really missed the mark:

1. The Da Vinci Code

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

3. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

In some cases, the result is divided.  Everybody has an opinion and, in these cases, no one can agree…bad or good?

There is one debatable movie that no one can agree on, including myself. The book/movie is The Hunger Games.  The question I have for you guys is, is the book better than the movie, or is the movie better than the book? 

Guest blogger Josifina O’Brien is a 13-year-old young lady who lives in the Equality State, U.S.A., home of elk, bison and former Vice-President of the U.S., Dick Cheney.  Besides guest-blogging, Miss O’Brien enjoys reading, downhill skiing and paddle-boarding during her spare time. 

Passwords Protected?

Password and Username fieldsThis post is part of a 2012 monthly series of posts on the topic of the U.S. Constitution.

Bob Sullivan’s online article, “Gov’t agencies, colleges demand applicants’ Facebook passwords,” is a quick reminder that questions about the U.S. Constitution and the specific liberties that the Constitution protects continue to be raised in today’s world.

The article, focused on the fact that some universities and employers are now demanding access to individuals’ private social media content, raises questions about whether those demanding organizations may be violating the rights of the individuals involved – rights that some would argue are guaranteed by the Constitution.

For example, a Washington D.C.-lawyer quoted in the article states: “I can’t believe some people think it’s OK to do this.  Maybe it’s OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us.  It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their email. …As a society, where are we going to draw the line?”

I was personally surprised to learn that my alma mater, The University of North Carolina, recently revised its handbook, adding a provision that requires each athletic team to “identify either a coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of their team members’ social networking sites.”

Do you think that employers and universities should be able to require individuals to divulge their user names and private passwords for the social networks to which they belong?  And, if not, which individual right or rights do you think are denied when such policies exist?  Sullivan’s article references the individual right to privacy as well as to the right to free speech.

Turning back to the Constitution, do you know which Article or Amendment provides for an individual’s right to free speech?  The answer is Amendment 1, the First Amendment.  And, what about the right to privacy? Is that right protected by the Constitution?  The author of the online article, “Exploring Constitutional Conflicts,” contends that the Constitution “contains no express right to privacy.”

It seems like there are two sides to the social media coin today.  On one hand, we’ve recently seen social media tools like Twitter aid individuals in reclaiming their rights and defeating oppressive government regimes like Mubarak’s in Egpyt.  On the other hand, in the instances like those referenced in Sullivan’s article, social media technologies seem to be putting individuals’ rights at risk.

When it comes to the question of employees and universities demanding individuals to share their user names and Facebook passwords, which side are you on, and do you think the Constitution addresses the question?

Bowie, Crow and Amendments

Changes David BowieThis post is part of a 2012 monthly series of posts on the topic of the U.S. Constitution.

In his 1971 hit single, “Changes,” Brit David Bowie sang about the changes artists often confront while reinventing themselves and their crafts.  Besides Bowie, countless other singers and singer-songwriters over the years have focused on the concept of change.  In 2010, Robin Raven highlighted 10 modern songs about change in the online article, “10 Best Songs About Change,” and Bowie’s “Changes” made the list.

You may know something about evolving as an individual, but are you familiar with the process for changing the U.S. Constitution?  Do you know which of the seven Articles within the Constitution deals with changing the document?

Article Five describes how the Constitution may be amended and how Amendments to the Constitution can be proposed and ratified.

According to Article Five, there are only two ways in which an Amendment may be proposed.  Changes can be proposed either by:  1- two-thirds votes of both houses of the U.S. Congress or 2- a national convention requested by legislatures of at least two-thirds of U.S. states.  According to Wikipedia, “All of the ratified and unratified amendments” have been proposed by the first method.”

Article Five also identifies two ways in which proposed Amendments may be ratified.  The two ways to ratify an Amendment are: 1- ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states and 2-ratification by state conventions of three-fourths of the states.  According to Wikipedia, “only the Twenty-first Amendment” has used the second method.

Wikipedia highlights that U.S. Representatives and Senators typically propose up to 200 amendments during each year, but “most amendments never get out of Congressional committees.”  In fact, only 27 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been ratified to date.  And, did you know that the Twenty-seventh Amendment was ratified in 1993 and 203 years after originally being submitted to the states for ratification?

Without doubt, in crafting Article Five, our Founding Fathers made sure that changing our Constitution would not be an easy task.

What about the changes that you’ve made in your life to date?  Have you applied the same sort of conservative, serious “Constitutional” approach when making significant life changes?  Have you made quick or slow important life decisions?

And, would you agree with singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow that “a change would do you good?

Sharing Constitutional Content in 2012

U.S. Constitution Pocket Guide

U.S. Constitution Pocket Guide

Expect at least one post per month in 2012 that will examine an aspect of the U.S. Constitution, the anchor of our American society.

Following a year (2011) in which TIME magazine named “The Protestor” as its “Person of the Year” and living in a time in history when so many are protesting for democratic reforms and higher individual freedoms, it seems fitting to remind ourselves of the content contained within the document that has protected our freedoms and ways of life since our U.S. nation was founded.

To begin, how familiar are you right now with the Constitution and its Articles?  For example, do you recall the year and the U.S. city in which the Constitution was signed?  (The answers would be 1787 and Philadelphia.)   And, can you recite the first 15 words of the document?  (“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”)

In recognition of the fact that 2012 is a presidential election year here in the U.S., I want to highlight Article Two, the Article that creates the executive branch of the U.S. government, defines the role of the President of the U.S. and contains four sections:

  • Section 1 begins by stating, “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”  Then, the section explains the four-year Presidential and Vice-Presidential electoral process and Congress’ related role, defines the specific personal criteria (U.S. citizenship and age) for the position of U.S. President and calls out the requirement that the President must take a specific Oath “before he enter on the Execution his Office.”
  • Section 2 names the President as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States” and primarily calls out his power to make treaties and appoint Ambassadors, U.S. Supreme Court Justices and other Officers of the U.S.
  • Section 3 references the fact that the President will “from time to time” give Congress information about the “State of the Union” and speaks to the President’s jurisdiction “on extraordinary Occasions” to convene both Houses of Congress “or either of them.”  Section 3 also mentions that the President can adjourn Congress “in Case of Disagreement between them” and “shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
  • Section 4, the final section of Article Two, states that the President, Vice President and “all civil Officers of the United States” will be removed from “Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

In this election year, amidst the partisan fighting occurring daily between our two U.S. political parties as well as the daily political punditry highlighted on TV and the Internet, it’s easy to grow weary of the U.S. presidential election process.

However, when you consider the amount of power that the words of Article Two will require our next President to embrace, don’t you think it’s important for American citizens to embrace the presidential election process?

If you’re an American who’s registered to vote in the upcoming primaries and in the general election in November, I hope you’ll remember all of the power that Article Two will hand to the winner before you place your vote.

Team @BarbieStyle or Team @OfficialKen?

Malibu Barbie and KenEarlier this year, I penned a post: “What’s in Your Favorites List?

When it comes to social media marketing, do you have a favorite campaign so far in 2011?

If asked the same question, I would respond with, “one of my favorite social media marketing campaigns in 2011 involved the reuniting of two of America’s sweethearts, Barbie (aka @BarbieStyle) and Ken (aka @OfficialKen).”

During 2011, the toy giant Mattel’s internal marketing staff partnered with Ketchum Public Relations to execute a fabulously fun and engaging integrated marketing campaign between mid-January and February 14 that contained multiple social components, including the use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts by the inanimate, non-real, non-human Barbie and Ken doll characters.

The campaign’s central messaging centered around the idea of the fictional Ken doll’s 2011 New Year’s resolution to win the fictional Barbie doll back, after having lost her love on Valentine’s Day in 2004.

Check out this YouTube video, which was a one of the social components of the campaign, and read the Mashable business article, “How Barbie & Ken Were Reunited by Social Media” to learn more.

The reason why this campaign makes my favorite social media marketing campaign list is because of the blatant statement the campaign sent to America about the significance of social media marketing today.

Let’s face it… if two of American children’s most beloved toys, the Barbie and Ken dolls, are involved in social media, then aren’t we all?

At the least, Mattel’s campaign revealed that social media channels are almost inescapable by our youth today.

So, what do you think about the impact of social media marketing on our society today?  And, if you had to pick a side, whose team would you join?  Team Barbie or Team Ken?

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