Lorie’s List for 11/22/2013

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English: The current TARDIS seen at BBC TV Cen...

English: The current TARDIS seen at BBC TV Centre (Photo credit: zir.com)

This week has been full of Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff. For those not familiar, Saturday, November 23, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the British sci-fi show that has made history. Or at least tried to rewrite it. I am not ashamed to admit that I have become very addicted to the show thanks to several family members.

In honor of this television milestone this week’s (probably) random, (rarely) newsworthy and on (nearly every) occasion strange or unique stories are Doctor Who related. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something interesting to discus during your next ride on the TARDIS.

  • Help build the TARDIS! The folks behind Doctor Who have been working over time making sure that social media has been whipped into a frenzy. This is one of the coolest. They’ve had fans using #SaveTheDay on Facebook Twitter and Instagram and then with the magic of the Time Vortex those posts and tweets are used to create a TARDIS made of points lights. For their efforts fans get sneak peaks at the anniversary special – about 10 seconds at a time, but we’ll take what we can get!
  • Timey Wimey Infographic Infographics are all the rage, but this is the Timey Wimiest of all! This shows all the travels through time by all the doctors.
  • YouTube Specials The BBC America YouTube Channel has been pumping out all kinds of special videos and hints about the 50th Anniversary Special. There are events all weekend in the UK and they’ll be adding videos. I’ve also heard that there will be some live things going on just before the world simulcast, so keep an eye out!
  • A World What? A World Simulcast of The Day of the Doctor! In an unheard of move for what’s suppose to be a kid’s television show, the 50th anniversary special is going to be simulcasted around the world. It starts at 7:50 PM in the UK. On the East coast it hits the air wave as 2:50 PM…you get the idea. I think it’s kind of a cool idea that million of fans will get to watch it at the same time! I also love the idea that I don’t have to stay off-line for hours between when it first airs in the UK and when it airs in the US.
  • 3D! That’s right the 50th Anniversary Special is in 3D and to give as many people as possible people as the opportunity to see it there will be special showing in theaters all over the place. Folks in the US can find the nearest theater here.  I’m kind of bummed that I won’t be able to get to one, but if you do come back and let me know how it was!

There are tons going on this weekend. If you’re a fan of the The Doctor you have a lot to entertain you. If you aren’t familiar there are specials and marathons running all weekend to get you hooked. Check out a little bit of history and watch a show that is sure to be one of the highest rated around the world and ruling Twitter.

If you have any ideas or if you’d like to Guest Write The List, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!

Have a great weekend everyone! If a guy in a bluer than blue box that is ancient and new and bigger on the inside asks where you’d like to go in all of time and space, go. Don’t walk, RUN!

Marketing, Strategy and Storytelling

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English: Quill pen

English: Quill pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It’s so easy to get bogged down in what we have to do every day that we can lose sight of the story we’re telling. I’m not talking about your social media strategy or your marketing strategy. Hopefully you’ve put that marketing plan in action and things are buzzing along. I’m talking about the thread that ties it all together.  I’m talking about the story you’re telling about your organization through your marketing.

 

Everything from your logo, to your letter head, to the voice you use when you tweet are part of the story you tell about your organization. When was the last time you sat back and looked at the story your telling? Does the story coming from your Twitter feed match the story being told by your website? Does it match the story being told by your brochures?

 

Everything doesn’t have to match perfectly, but they should seem like they’re being told by the same people. The stories should have the feeling of organization. Your stories should propel the messages from your marketing plan. They should help the audience feel like they know the organization no matter where they see it.

 

Take a moment for an objective look at the stories you’re telling. Make the most of the stories and you’ll be making the most of each of your outreach opportunities.

 

 

 

Friday 5 for 8/30/2013

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I thought I would try something new for the blog and share five things every Friday. Five (probably) random, (rarely) newsworthy and on (nearly every) occasion strange or unique. Hopefully it’ll be a chance to see something new and give you something to say when there’s awkward silence on your blind date this weekend.

English: Schultz house at Johnstown, PA in 188...

House in Johnstown, PA after 1889  Flood

Off we go…

1. Did you know that the first peacetime relief services of the American Red Cross were in 1889 in Johnstown, PA? Clara Barton and volunteers arrived in town just after the Great Johnstown Flood in May and stayed until October providing services to the devastated city.

2. All you Video Music Award fans out there can own a piece of history. Part the red carpet is up for sale on eBay with a starting bid of $500. You could always choose the buy it now option for $5000. The auction ends Monday so get your bids in before it’s too late!

3. A pot-bellied pig was picked up by the police. The irony was not missed by the officers in Grand Rapids.

Honey Badger self portrait

Honey Badger Selfie!

4. A shop owner in Japan transforms into a masked hero to aid people on the stairs at a subway station. He’s looking for volunteers to help him, no information in the article on where to do to sign up, or if it’s BYOC (Bring Your Own Costume).

5. Honey Badger don’t care, but he tweets!  I’m one of his followers and I have to say he takes some great selfies.

So there you have it, the first five Friday 5! (Try saying that 5 tines fast!) I don’t want to keep all this fun to myself, so if you see something that would be perfect for next week’s Friday 5 tweet me @LorieEGSinger or leave a message below!

Miss Communications – Trolls, Free Speech and Trying to Get Along

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The Intersection of 36th and Troll

The Intersection of 36th and Troll (Photo credit: sea turtle)

It seems like every few days I hear another story about someone being trolled online to the point that they’re being threatened with rape and/or death. Threats that are so vile and filled with hate that people go off-line and underground because not just their names get splashed across the web, but the names of their spouses and kids along with home addresses and phone numbers. It blows my mind that people go online to express an opinion and suddenly they’re in fear for their lives and the lives of people the love. To be honest friends, I’m a little worried to even write about this topic should it cause Hell Fire to rain down upon me and mine. But, how do things change if we’re all too afraid to talk about it?

First and foremost, I respect everyone’s right to free speech. I respect the right of a person express their opinions. Any opinions. The ones who speak out against people spewing hate, and even the people who are spewing the hate. Everyone has the right to express an opinion.

But where I run into a moral dilemma is when someone uses their right of free expression to make someone’s life a living hell. When you threaten to rape or kill someone because you don’t agree with them. Or because you think it’s funny. And since no one can stop you or do a damn thing about it, then so much the better.

One of the best things about the internet is the ability to be anyone you want. You can take on a whole new personality if you want. You can have the courage to say the things you wouldn’t normally say in real life. And there in lies the rub.

Suddenly people can say whatever they want because they don’t have to look anyone in the face when they do it. They can threaten death and rape and destruction of property and never have to see the fear in the eyes of the people they’re spewing their hatred at. They don’t feel bad about it because it doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s only words on a computer screen by someone (probably) miles away who (most likely) would never (usually) follow through on any threats (that you know of).  It’s letting off steam, it’s a little fun, and no one is actually getting hurt.

But the people making the threats seem to forget that there are real life people on the other end of those words. Somewhere there is a person who suddenly has their address appear online with messages about breaking into her home, or following her and raping her. Somewhere else is trying not to look worried walking their kids to the car that someone will make good on the threat and come after him with a baseball bat. There’s a teenager somewhere afraid to leave their house and afraid to tell their parents why.

And that’s supposed to be ok? Because it’s words on a computer it’s ok? Because someone said it on Twitter instead of to your face you’re not allowed to feel scared or worried? If someone says that they’re scared or worried they get blasted again. They’re told not to talk about it, not to engage or interact because it’s what the trolls want.

It seems like high school all over again to me. And honestly people, how many times did ignoring the bully and going about your business make the bully realize the error of their ways and walk away? Not that getting in the bully’s face worked any better – everyone just ends up battered and bruised this way. I don’t know that there is a good way to deal with it when it happens. Maybe the answer is for it not to happen in the first place.

I think most people would agree it is not good manners to threaten bodily harm of another human being, no matter how much you disagree with them. It’s just not polite. Maybe we should all start there. Let’s try to be a little more polite. If you see someone you know being stupid and impolite enough to threaten someone, call them on it. Ask them if they would say the same thing if their Mom or Grandmother or child was holding their hand and while they talked to the person face-to-face. If you can’t say it to someone’s face or in front of someone you respect, you probably shouldn’t be saying it.

So let’s start there, shall we? Let’s try to communicate a little better. Let’s try to be a little more polite and remember that words have meaning that there are real live human beings out there reading them. It’s not much, but maybe it could help.

Other Miss Communication Posts

Is Social Media Changing How We Tell Stories?

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I read this post and it got me thinking. Obviously social media is changing the way we tell stories. We can now share what’s happening to us, as it’s happening, with video and/picture proof. There’s no planning ahead. There’s no deep thought on the best way to share a story, or looking forward to telling it the next time you see someone. With a couple of clicks of your smartphone, tablet or the old school laptop and everyone who knows you knows exactly what happened.

There’s no saving a story for the next family get together – they read all about it on Facebook. There’s no go to anecdote for parties – they saw it on Twitter and retweeted. They re-pinned the picture we took of the dog and pinned on Pinterest. They saw the crazy cat video you posted on YouTube.

Where are the stories we save and savor telling our friends or family? Where are the great icebreaker stories that we prepare for awkward social encounters (fulling willing to admit, this may just be me)? What do we have to talk about at dinner tonight when our every move is posted, pinned, tweeted and shared as it happens?

I’m curious. Has social media, and the instant gratification that it brings, changed the way you tell stories? Do you still relate the stories of your day when your out with friends or sitting around the dinner table with your family? Has social media helped you start conversations because people see what you posted and prompt you for the full story?

Answer the poll and share your thoughts below.

Miss Communication – Did You Really Just Tweet That?!?

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A family with the faces blacked out

Protecting your on-line image is a family affair.

It comes back around every few months. Someone is surprised that they got in trouble at work for tweeting something negative about the company. Or they posted on Facebook about how they called in sick to work to get drunk with their friends, forgetting that they “friended” their boss and are shocked that they lost their jobs. There are the students who get freaked out when the school or professor comments on a post.

But why? When you post something on the world-wide web there is a very good chance that someone in the world will see it. There really is no such thing as private on the internet. There are glitches and hacks all the time. Nothing you post anywhere is really private.

And it lives forever. Once you hit send the picture, joke or rant is out of your hands and out there for others to use and consume the way they see fit. Sure you can recall an email, but it doesn’t get it unseen. And if you don’t recall it fast enough it could be tucked away in a folder somewhere waiting for a chance to surprise you.

The ability to share thoughts and feelings as we have them is addicting. Having followers and friends who will listen and comment on life’s ups and downs provides a certain feeling of power. But what people forget is those thoughts and feelings don’t just go out to the people who follow you, they can go to anyone who’s looking for them. Those pictures from the weekend if Vegas with college friends are not going to stay in Vegas.

More and more people are getting haunted while looking for a job. Rachel Gogos discusses how social media can hurt your job hunt and keep you from landing the job of your dreams. What seems like a harmless tweet today could be found by a recruiter or hiring manager and keep you from being considered for a job. Put yourself in their place. Would you hire a woman for a teaching position when googling her name brings up pictures of keg stands and wardrobe malfunctions? Or a man for a diversity program who has a drunken rant against ethnic groups on YouTube?

And while there are companies that can excise your on-line demons, you can save some time and money by being smart. Don’t put pictures, videos, tweets or status updates or blog posts that can and will come back to bite you. I know, easier said than done. It’s harder today than it was when you only had to worry about your reputation for as long as someone had the photographs. You could only be embarrassed by them in front of the people someone was able to show them too. Today it takes seconds for your reputation to change.

The moral of the story is this, think before you send. Take a moment to pause before a picture gets taken or cameras start to roll or you send that post. Is this really what you want to be known for? Is this what you want people world-wide to know or think about you? Once that button gets clicked it’s too late to take it back.

Miss Communication – Sometimes it IS what you said

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I recently posted that sometimes electronic messages aren’t well received because they can’t communicate things like sarcasm. But  that’s not the only time when you can be misunderstood. The words we choose for each email, tweet and blog post tell a lot about who we are. Words can help us make a great first impression, or a really REALLY bad one. The words we chose when we communicate can change the way other people feel about us, the product or company we’re marketing, or the story we’re telling.

They say that sticks and stones may break our bones, but words can never hurt us. Anyone who’s survived junior high and high school knows that isn’t always the case. Words may not leave a mark on the body but they sure can bruise the heart. Words have power. It’s up to each of use how we use that power.

It’s very easy to get upset and send off an email, or reply to a post, or text message without thinking about the words we use. Choose the wrong words and you might just find yourself in hot(ter) water. But, choose the right words and you can change the situation. You can win people to your way of thinking and sway them into listening to your message. Don’t believe me?

Think about all the news coming out of Washington D.C. The news is filled with each side’s opinion and spin on each and every situation. Sometimes they are talking about the same thing but they words they choose change the context completely. Politics is poster child of carefully chosen words. Words that admit to nothing but implicate everything. Politicians – and the people who craft their messages – know the power of words.

To be a good communicator, whatever the medium, you need to think about the words you choose to convey your message. Make sure that the words you choose help you convey message and persuade your audience to your way of thinking.

Miss Communication – It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.

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Communication is a wonderful thing, it keeps us informed, allows us to share and bond along life’s weary road, and in many ways is under-appreciated. Everything we do, every move we make, every word we speak communicates volumes about us. How often do you take time to think about how you communicate?

There’s verbal and nonverbal communications. There’s written communication, and electronic communication. New forms of communication like Twitter and Facebook and texting have changed the way we communicate. All of these things are great. I’m sure you would agree that these are important. But do you stop and think about how you’re using it?

We’ve all been there. You write an email (or a text, or tweet) and is totally not received in the way it you thought it would. Email (and texts and tweets) can’t duplicate sarcasm or teasing in the way the human voice can. Or you’ve been following someone’s blog and finally get to hear them speak, only to learn that you can’t really connect with them when you hear them speak because their voice sounds so different from the way you imaged.

We all tend to get so busy and focused on what we want to say that we forget to think about who will be hearing the message. In my opinion, this is the most important part. It doesn’t matter how well crafted our message is if your audience isn’t able to understand the message, or interprets it incorrectly. Think about what you want them to hear, understand and remember – not what you want to say. There is power in every word you choose, so choose wisely.

Take a few minutes today and think about how you are communicating. Are you using video the right way? Are you sending emails when I phone call would be faster and save confusion? Are the words or action you’re choosing the right ones for the medium and the audience? A moment listening to your communication may just help you find a better way to say what you have to say.

Remember it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it that can get you into trouble.

5 Reasons NOT to Use Video

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I realized the other day after reading this that I’ve talked about reasons to use a professional video team. I’ve talked about how much I love the magic moments that you have. I’ve even talked about why you should use video. But what I haven’t talked about is why sometimes video isn’t the answer. As much as it does pay me to say it, video is not always the right answer. Let’s face it, it’s not.

Here are my Top 5 reasons not to use video:

  1. We want to be cool! I think a lot of people want to be a part of the latest greatest what ever is hot, but don’t necessarily consider if the latest greatest is right for them. I mean look how Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have exploded. Everyone wants to be there, but not everyone has taken the time to figure out what it means to them. Most business jumped on the social media bandwagon before develop marketing plans, metrics collection or even a plan of attack. Yes, you may seem that much more hip because you tweet, but if you don’t know how to use it to attract and keep customers, is it really worth the time investment? The same is true for video. Don’t make a video because all the cool kids (or your competitors) are making videos. Make a video because you have something to say and the best way to say it.
  2. My boss says we need it! Great, what about it does he feel you need? Just because his nephew is in film school, or just graduated, and is looking for a paid gig doesn’t make doing a video the best idea. (For my answer on why the nephew may not be the best idea, see the above link on the professional video team). Maybe your boss read an article somewhere saying that video marketing is the best thing since sliced bread doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and the company’s money if you play Devil’s Advocate for a few moments and find out what “We need video” really means.
  3. We want people to be able to see the faces of our staff! Not a bad idea, but not a great idea if your folks aren’t good on camera. Let’s face it, you can’t get much more awkward to watch than someone who is uncomfortable on camera. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to record it, rewrite or relax them, some people just aren’t good on video. Honestly, that’s ok. I would much rather have someone who is awesome with clients and not so good on camera than someone who is terrible on camera but comes off like an award winning actress on camera. Since she’s going to be spending 99.9% or her time with clients let her be awesome at and don’t embarrass her by forcing her to be awkward on camera. If you want your clients to see people’s faces then come up with a clever bio page with photographs of everyone. Chances are everyone will be happier with it in the end.
  4. Cost Outweighs ROI! As much as video folks like me want to do a video for you, it’s got to make sense to your bottom line. Does the cost of the video (even if it’s “free” there are probably staff hours involved) make sense for what you’re going to get out of it? If what you’re spending in dollars, time and/or effort is more than the benefit you’ll get from doing a video, it probably isn’t worth it. Video should be viewed the same as any marketing project. If the cost outweighs the return on that investment, you should rethink the plan. A video should make business sense for you and your organization.
  5. I’m Just Not Comfortable! This one really should be common sense, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing a video then don’t do it. One of the worse things in video is when someone is uncomfortable in the video. But the same goes true if you’re comfortable with the whole process. It only takes one tense person to drag down a project and make everyone else tense. Tense does not good video make.

One last thought….This advice applies to many things in life:  there’s nothing wrong with not be ready for video. Video is better when you wait for the right time and place. Wait until your ready for video, you’ll be glad you did.