Wow, I’ve really let this blog slip. But I don’t know if I feel that guilty about it.
Upon reading an honest post from Paul Roberts a few weeks ago, regarding his blogging hiatus, I realized I was not alone.
I started this blog along the same lines as Paul explains– to familiarize myself with the communications tools that are becoming more prevalent these days, i.e. social media.
It also helped me to better understand what it means to build and maintain a social media community around a topic.
I challenged myself to post regularly and to also keep up with content on Twitter, which I tend to use as a news aggregator and as a means to connect with other smart people interested in the same topics as me.
But what started as a blog on public relations and social media trends as a means to educate myself changed. Most significantly, it was due to a career change about a year and a half ago to alumni relations.
So, as I move into a new fiscal year (as the academic calendar moves), I find my job responsibilities changing in a challenging but good way.
I need to focus on what is important for my team and for my institution. That might mean taking the few hours I had set aside for blogging for working on planning and executing upon my strategies. I’m also preparing to enroll in graduate school (again) as I’ve found an interesting area of study in Adult and Organizational Development that complements my interests in organizational communications.
All this is to say that I am taking a little bit of a summer vacation from blogging regularly.
I thought I’d have more time after the Memorial Day vacation, but the opposite has proven true.
Instead, I need to focus on my job, while also saving my few free moments for time that I can enjoy. If that means writing a new blog post, then so be it. If that means taking the dog for a walk with my husband, then that’s nice too.
I have learned so much from this experience that I can’t say that it’s coming to a definite end. I truly treasure the connections I’ve made with other blogging pro’s out there and would not want to trade that in for the world. I know it sounds sappy, but with my small community, I’ve gained a lot in confidence that no “professional” experience could have ever given me.
So, here’s to a summer vacation like we used to look forward to in grade school. Remember those days? Wasn’t it fun to sleep in on the weekdays, go to summer camp, play with your friends, read books in your treehouse, and just enjoy your free time?
I hope you all have a summer with moments like that–moments when you can enjoy what you love to do. I promise to come back from time to time, and might be appearing on other blogs every now and then.
Have a wonderful summer, everyone!
Inspired by recent blog posts about important women in a bloggers’ lives, and because I had a nice exchange with other bloggers last week about my mom, I decided to take part in blogging in recognition of International Women’s Day.
I’m glad that Oxfam America is raising awareness of women’s roles in our global community.
It’s striking when you read some of the statistics about the realities of women’s lives in the world:
- Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10% of the world’s income;
- If women were given the same level of access to resources that men have, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%;
- Hunger and poverty are about power and inequality, and women and girls face the biggest inequalities of all.
Kind of makes you stop and think, doesn’t it? What would the world be like if there was more equity to these statistics?
I know that many of the women in my life have gone through a lot to get to where they are, and they deserve to be recognized as women working to make a difference, no matter how big or how small their actions may seem.
So, in honor of International Women’s Day, and in celebration of some (because there are many) strong women in my life, here are the women I would like to recognize:
My mom: Although she is becoming a regular fixture on my blog, my mom did everything in her power to make sure I had a happy childhood. She also instilled many important values in me, such as independence and confidence. I came to understand why a happy childhood for me and my siblings was so important to her, and I have definitely reaped those benefits well into my adulthood.
My sister: I grew up idolizing by my older sister, who used to talk for me when we were little. She has always been supportive of me and she has never lost her strength or sense of humor, no matter what life has thrown at her. And I know she’ll always be happy because sometimes when people meet us, they ask her if she is the “younger one.” (yes, Sara– I wrote that because I know you’re reading this and you remember that story!)
Anne Larson: One of my mom’s dearest friends, Mrs. Larson (as I knew her) was one of the kindest, most gracious women I’ve ever known. She never had children of her own, but she knew dozens of children in our neighborhood who kept in touch with her through the years. She even gave me one of my most precious gifts when I graduated from high school—a unicorn music box I played every time I visited her home as a child–and every now and then still.
Ginny DiGiacomo: My mom was named after Ginny, who was her mother’s cousin who grew up with her in New York. My mom’s mother died when she was very young, and for my mom, getting to know Ginny in adulthood was like getting that connection back. I loved that Ginny was always a sharp and outspoken woman who taught me to cherish of the family you have in your life and to remember and honor those who are not.
Although Mrs. Larson and Ginny DiGiacomo are no longer with me, I would still like to recognize them with my mom and my sister as women who have made a difference in my life.
You can also recognize the important women in your life or community on International Women’s Day by doing any of the following:
1. Send an International Women’s Day eCard to a woman you know, to say thank you for all that she does. Better yet, send it to several women who’ve made the world a better place.
2. Give the Oxfam America International Women’s Day 2012 award to a woman you think has made a difference to the world. She could be a teacher, your mom, a non-profit leader, a woman entrepreneur, the neighbor who always checks up on you when you’re ill…the possibilities are endless.
To give your award, just fill out the PDF file with the awardee’s name, and your name and date. You can then save it as a PDF or JPG (JPG if you want your readers to see the actual award) file. Then just publish a post to your blog, or to Facebook (make sure to tag her so she sees it), or wherever you’d like. You can even print it out and give it to her as a tangible reminder of your gratefulness.
So, to all the strong ladies out there (and the countless women bloggers who inspire me) I’d like to raise a glass and toast your accomplishments. Here’s to making our world a better place.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Happy Friday, everyone! This marks the first Little Birdy post of 2012–which means the holidays are officially over. I packed up all the Christmas decorations last night and am getting back into my workout routine. I’m sure lots of you have been spending these mild weekends taking down lights from the house and putting away holiday knick-knacks. In case you’re still organizing things this weekend and have a few free moments, here are this week’s links and articles of interest to share–enjoy!
The Best Communication Tool by @vedo:
Here is a very interesting communications story in the form of a high-profile manhunt and a life-and-death situation.
The story has to do with a group of campers who were in potential danger, and the helicopter pilot who used a very creative communications mode to reach them. (read the links from Richie Escovedo’s post for the full story) This story should resonate with communications professionals because we need to do the same thing (well, maybe not on coffee cups unless that’s reasonable)—we need to observe and adapt our communications if they are not reaching our target audiences.
Tips to Overcome Blogger’s Block by @vocus:
Yes, there is such a thing as “blogger’s block”—for anyone who maintains a blog, you know what this is. I admit, I’ve had to overcome the hurdle once or twice as well (link to post), so it’s always helpful to hear what others have to say about getting out of the rut.
I think the best part about this post is that the list of tips is that they are all very approachable. Sometimes, bloggers get tired, distracted, or just too busy to keep the content train moving. Reading suggestions like these help keep the creative juices flowing.
Political Gaffes and Perception by @joshdbrett:
Here’s a spot-on commentary about the importance of perception in communications—especially in the political realm as we gear up for a presidential election.
Mitt Romney committed a “political gaffe” earlier this week, which Josh summarizes in his post. What’s more important about what Mr. Romney said is how his image is perceived as a result, depending on which side of the fence you may reside. Josh makes an important point from this example for any communicator, especially those working for public figures—know what the current perceptions are of your company/brand/leader and try to anticipate how your communications may reinforce or address them.
Building a Digital Community by Neil Perkin via @agossen:
This article was brought to my attention by Andrew Gossen, who tweeted that it was a must read for people working in Institutional Advancement (i.e. fundraising, communications, and alumni relations for educational institutions)
What I found was a concise and helpful article from Neil Perkin about what to remember when building a digital community, mostly in general terms. For people working in higher education, digital community building can help support any number of initiatives, from fundraising to alumni clubs. It’s always helpful to consider these tips, even if from a corporate or consumer point of view, because it’s often the same mechanism in developing and maintaining these communities.
Hope you all are having a great New Year so far– feel free to share any articles or posts you found as well :)
I took a little blogging and social media vacation over the holidays. That was due mostly to travel and mobility issues, but it was also because I felt the need to recharge my creative batteries.
And it’s been a slow-moving train to get back in the swing of social media things.
Since I don’t have a fresh post on a current topic or reaction to any issues, I thought to share just how I spent my blogging vacation:
Christmas in Minnesota
After more than a year, I finally made it home to Minnesota on Christmas Day to be with my family and friends.
I’ve lived in Philadelphia for eight years now, but still consider the Twin Cities my hometown. My parents are from St. Paul; all my relatives live around the suburbs; and I went to college at the U of MN and started my communications career in Minneapolis.
While my visit was relatively laid-back, there were a few things I had to do and see while I was home.
While I remain an ardent Starbucks brand loyalist, I always have to get Caribou Coffee when I’m back in Minnesota.
Don’t ask me why. Maybe it’s because they’re not on the East Coast yet, or maybe it’s because their small lattes already come with two shots of espresso.
Either way, Caribou Coffee is a warm reminder (literally) of my beloved home state.
One of the beauties of living in a city with sub-zero winter temperatures is that it’s prepared to make it easy for its citizens to get around without going outside.
Downtown Minneapolis is famous for its skyways, which are walkways that connect virtually every major building in the downtown area.
I recall many a day using the skyways to avoid snow, rain, sleet and freezing weather for as long as possible. They’re also a landmark that reminds me of home even if I see them in other cities.
IDS Center’s Crystal Court
My first job in Minneapolis was at the Starbucks in the IDS Center’s Crystal Court, hence my unwavering support of that company.
And that same store is still there, near the same waterfall and windowed ceiling that acts as a hub for the downtown community.
I’ve noticed the stores around the court change over the years, but Starbucks (and neighboring Godiva Chocolates) remain steadfast.
If you were a young kid on the First Ave live music scene like me, then you know about Pizza Luce on 4th Street.
It was the cool pizzeria in downtown Minneapolis where the punk rockers and hip hop geeks mingled before hitting the all ages shows.
Today, there are several Pizza Luce locations outside of downtown, including a new location in the ‘burbs—Hopkins, Minnesota.
Aside from being conveniently located close to my parents’ house in Minnetonka, I find the expansion and growth of Pizza Luce comforting, as I can find my favorite local beer on tap or get a delicious gourmet pie in more locations around the Twin Cities.
Plus, there is a smell to their sauce that is so distinct I can’t describe it in words. But entering the Pizza Luce in Hopkins and getting hit with that scent made me feel like I was 18-years-old again.
Grain Belt Beer
Another staple of Minneapolis is Grain Belt beer, which used to be made and distributed out of Northeast Minneapolis but has since been moved to New Ulm, Minnesota.
While my favorite remains Grain Belt Premium (imagine a local Miller High Life– I know, I’m a classy gal), I tried a new blend named after the hard-working folk in Northeast Minneapolis, the Nordeast.
And what would go better with a Minnesota-made beer than fried cheese curds? Absolute heaven!
Maybe I’m showing my age here a little, or maybe it’s because my visits are fewer and further between, but I really appreciate the littlest of things when I go home.
It all points to that you always stay connected with where you are from, not matter how far you go or how old you get.
Anyone else move away from your hometown and have memories to share? Any favorite metropolitan landmarks remind you of home?
Happy Friday, everyone! And happy holidays, as the full convergence of festivities is finally upon us. I have been a busy little elf this week, wrapping up my Christmas shopping (pun intended) and taking some time off from work. For that reason, I will not be posting any new content until the New Year, and my tweets will be few and far between. So, here’s to looking forward to 2012!
Before the holiday break, I thought to share a few holiday videos to hopefully brighten your day.
Here is a video of The Muppets and John Denver doing a rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas”–this song holds a special place in my heart and always brings a smile to my face :)
And here’s a slightly different take on “The 12 Days of Christmas” by two of my favorite Canadians–the Bob and Doug McKenzie (of SCTV fame) who hail from The Great White North:
Finally, here is a classic trailer to one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Die Hard.” Instead of the 12 Days of Christmas, you get 12 terrorists who hold up a Los Angeles high rise on Christmas Eve. But they didn’t count on one man who would make a difference (seriously, they don’t make movie trailers like they used to):
Happy holidays and a happy New Year, everyone :)
Happy Friday, all! Are you ready for the holidays next week? It’s hard to believe this month has gone by that quickly. What I’m most looking forward to is spending Christmas with my family back home in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I’m sure lots of you are also getting ready for holiday travels and house guests. If you have some free time this weekend in between last-minute shopping and prepping for the holidays, here are this week’s links and posts of interest to share–enjoy!
Seven Blogging Tips to Drop Right Now (by Mayra via @DannyBrown):
One blogging tip I follow frequently is to pay attention to tips other bloggers share. So, when I read something like Mayra’s column about the seven blogging tips to ditch and why, it makes me stop in my tracks and give it a read.
She doesn’t so much explain to ditch these tips for the sake of ditching them (because any blogger will recognize them), but rather, she reasons that they often tend to take the fun and organic nature out of blogging. I agree that blogging should be fun, and everyone has different time and resources to put into their blogs. And to each his or her own :)
Public Relations Perception and Messages in the Media (by @jepotts):
Sometimes, it’s hard to take the PR out of a person when you see a news story or follow a hot topic in the media. Jonathan Potts, who writes a very smart PR blog, noticed tone in the media coverage of a fight of words between a health system and an insurance company in Pittsburgh. He shared that as PR folks, we’re often analyzing the tone of a story and rating it if it is positive, negative or neutral.
But it’s also important to note if, regardless of tone, your key messages are getting into the coverage. Tone may change, but those key messages won’t, and it’s easy to get swept up in the media storm and forget the importance of message. I liked the clarity of that thought from Mr. Potts, and he gets bonus points for suggesting a content analysis of news stories, because that appeals to the PR geek in me.
Elements of Style Rap Video (via @juliemmoos):
Anyone who went to journalism school knows the Elements of Style by E.B. White and William Strunk, Jr. In fact, I still have my copy from my undergrad days upstairs in my bookcase of forgotten books. So, it was fun to see this video produced by Columbia Journalism students to showcase their rapping styles and general journalism nerdiness. Seeing how creative these guys were, I wonder what kind of rap PR folks could come up with? (Read: open challenge for anyone who does a PR rap—think of words that rhyme with “press release” and “key message”)
Science Cheerleaders Break Stereotypes (by @allieharch on @geekadelphia):
And since I’m on a geeky kick, I feel like sharing something completely different…
I have recently started following the Geekadelphia blog, and a post from this week bought to my attention the Science Cheerleaders organization. It’s made up of women who are professional cheerleaders but also hold multiple science degrees. They work to break the stereotypes of women in many ways—that cheerleaders aren’t airheads and that women can be successful in the sciences. The video embedded in this post is very inspirational and makes me wish I hadn’t put down my pom-poms in junior high. Go, science!
Did you come across any links or articles of interest this week? Feel free to share them and have a wonderful weekend :)