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Archive for March, 2009

Vintage Coca Cola mural in Greenville, SC

Vintage Coca Cola mural in Greenville, SC

The topic of “what is a brand” or “what do we mean when we say brand” comes up pretty often, so I am always on the lookout for a clear explanation of the term… or at least an explanation that can help frame it for people who aren’t 100% clear what brand really is. (Is it a logo, symbol or mark? Is it a promise? Is it a marketing gimmick?)  Depending on whom you talk to, you might get a completely different answer.

This time around, let’s have Tom Asacker share a few insights on the subject:

A brand is not a logo, and branding is not a communication strategy. A strong brand is a strong bond, and branding is your business.”“To those with a dated, mass-market mentality, branding is still all about image and awareness. It’s about tag lines, logos, cute little animal mascots or clever jingles. It’s about spending megabucks on Super Bowl commercials, hiring celebrities to sing your corporate praises, and covering cars with advertising banners. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that awareness is unimportant. (…) But, does well-known equal strong? Not any longer. The rise of the global economy [and] the rapid adoption of the Internet have ignited commercial innovation, and put an end to those days forever. Today, like just about everything else, brand logic has been turned on its head.”

“And please, don’t get hung-up on the word brand. Today, the word brand is shorthand for the gut feeling people have about something, some group, or someone. It’s a kind of Platonic Ideal, which stands for the essence of a business, school, organization, person, or even place. If you add up the tangible and intangible qualities of something – the gestalt – and wish to represent the meaning and distinctive character this greater whole conveys to its audience, today we call it . . . brand.

“Think of your brand as a “file folder” in your audiences’ minds (not a perfect metaphor, since memory is malleable, but stick with me anyway.). When they’re exposed to you (e.g., through advertising, design, a salesperson, word-of-mouth, etc.), a feeling is immediately filed away in that “brand file folder.” As time passes, much of what your audience has filed away – the details – will become inaccessible. However, they will remember where they stored the folder: in the front (positive feelings) or pushed to the back (negative feelings). Given the sheer volume of brands trying to find a place in your audiences’ overloaded “brand file cabinets,” you must not only get their attention and be relevant (a file folder labeled with your brand name), but you must also get it placed in the front of their file cabinet (elicit strong, positive feelings of intense personal significance).

“(…) Despite what the Madison Avenue folks may tell you, the strength of your brand lies not in the fact that you own a folder with your name prominently displayed on it. Repetition does not create memories, relevance does. The strength lies in your folder’s position in your audience’s file cabinet (the emotions that linger in their memory). The strength lies in the bond! So make your brand about feeling, not just familiarity. Make it about shared values and trust. About honesty, vulnerability and presence. A brand is not simply a promise. How can it be, with everything changing at breakneck speed? A brand is a living, breathing relationship. Revel in the messy world of emotions and create a brand that’s about leadership and differentiation; about customer insight and radical innovation; and about clarity of purpose, passion and a sense of humor.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Wow. Is it really Friday already?

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Jay Handler (@sellphone) presenting

Jay Handler (@sellphone) presenting

So I spent most of Thursday morning at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce with Chad McMillan, Geoff Wasserman, Trey Pennington, Adam Landrum, Jay Handler, Amy Wood and a roomful of business folks – and we talked about various aspects of Social Media as they relate to business. Great little event with a pretty impressive panel and an even more impressive audience composed of Ad agency and PR folks, major players like Michelin North America, and a number of small businesses looking to gain a competitive edge. Topics covered: Brand development in the age of Social Media, digital relevance, creating brand ambassadors, traditional and new media working side by side, opportunities and dangers in a hyperconnected world, etc.

We took a few pictures to give you guys a glimpse into Greenville’s super double-top secret Social Media underworld. I hope you enjoy them. :)

Photo credits: Yours truly, Trey Pennington and Doug Cone.

Geoff Wasserman moderating the panel

Geoff Wasserman moderating the panel

Using my trigger finger to make a point.

Using my trigger finger to make a point.

Elabortaing on one of Chad's points.

Elaborating on one of Chad's points.

Chad demonstrating his mad Macarena skills.

Chad demonstrating his mad Macarena skills.

Chandler's impossibly cool suite of Macphile SocMed geek tools

Chandler's impossibly cool suite of Macphile SocMed geek tools

Michelin North America starting up a discussion

Michelin North America starting up a discussion

The Jackson-Dawson team and their Macs

The Jackson-Dawson team demonstrating their patented "attention rotation" technique

Chandler's knowledge acquisition method: Pulling up a chair
Hanging out before Jay's session

Hanging out before Jay's session

Between sessions

Greenville Chamber's Claudia Clanton Wise between sessions

Jackson-Dawson's launch operations control center

Jackson-Dawson's shuttle operations control center

The mini muffins I ate

The mini muffins I ate

The notes I took in my trusty Moleskine notebook

The notes I took in my trusty Moleskine notebook

@Geoffwasserman and @melbrooke exchanging knock-knock jokes

@Geoffwasserman and @melbrooke exchanging knock-knock jokes

Jay Handler (@sellphone) showering knowledge upon the crowd

Jay Handler (@sellphone) showering knowledge upon the crowd

Amy Wood (@tvamy)

Amy Wood (@tvamy) being a goof

Merge's Adam Landrum rocking it out as an MC

Merge's Adam Landrum rocking it out as an MC

Copiuos note-taking going on there.

Copious note-taking going on there.

Amy Wood (@tvamy) talking about Social Media and the News Media

The conversation continues

The conversation continues

Amy has a Flip video too. Standard issue gadget for us Social Media types

Amy has a Flip video too. Standard issue gadget for us Social Media types

The Jackson-Dawson team pulling triple attention duty

The Jackson-Dawson team pulling triple attention duty

Trey Pennington (@treypennington) taking the floor.

Trey Pennington (@treypennington) taking the floor.

Trey Pennington answering questions

Trey Pennington answering questions

Talking shop

Marketing peeps talking shop

Trey and Amy hanging out

Trey and Amy hanging out

In case we were wondering where we were this morning...

In case we were wondering where we were this morning...

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Happy Twitterversary!

Hi everyone! Today is my first Twitterversary: I have been using Twitter for exactly 1 year.  And although I had no idea then how big this thing would get, I still made a point to mark the event with this blog post:

I finally started using twitter today, and I am pretty psyched about it.

If you’re one of the 6% of adult internet users currently microblogging (using twitter) to keep tabs on your friends and colleagues, put your seemingly time-wasting hobby to good use – or at least come up with a better justification for your twitter habit at work:

You – “Twitter? Yeah! I use it all the time! It’s a great research tool!”
Your boss – “Really? A research tool?”
You – “Suuuuuure! One could find out all sorts of things thanks to twitter, if they were so inclined.”

Enter tweetscan.com (the twitter ap that turns your geeky and questionable tweeter addiction into a pretty kickass “out of the box” initiative that will make you the envy of your cubiclemates).

If you want to find out what people are saying about ANYTHING, hit tweetscan and enter your keyword in the search box. Try it. Throw your name in there. Throw your company’s name in there too. Find out what people are saying about anything at all. Your new product. The airline you want to book a flight with. Your kids’ top 3 college picks. A restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. A new movie. Your latest customer program.

It’s very cool, pretty effective, and best of all, it’s free.

And fresh.

And they didn’t call it twitscan… which is a very good thing.

Via Church of the Customer.

That’s what I loved about Twitter from the very beginning: The vast potential of the platform and the ocean of applications, from online reputation management to customer engagement and live peer-to-peer collaboration. Endless possibilities. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out, even back then.

Because of some social media restrictions at work, I didn’t get to truly start using Twitter until I left the world of cubicles and TPS reports last September. The stats since then (approx.):

Followers: 5,569

Following: 5,087

Updates: 11,366

My Twitter Grade: 100

My Twitter ranking: 263/1,766,380

More benefits:

About 200 new friends, colleagues and co-conspirators in the Greenville area alone.

A 20%+ increase in my blog’s readership every month.

24-hour access to the best articles and studies about marketing, design, business development on the planet.

Direct access to some of the industry’s best and brightest practitioners, from Ford’s Scott Monty to Alltop’s Guy Kawasaki.

Conversations, conversations, conversations: Twitter has taken the discussions started on this blog to a whole new level.

Knowing what everyone is doing, just in case I want to cyberstalk them.

A whole new category of services companies need help with.

Information: Faster, better and pre-filtered by people I trust.

Enhanced collaboration between fellow practitioners (using Twitter to plan book projects, lectures, seminars, etc.)

Contractor-sourcing (Oh yeah. Twitter is a great place to meet your next graphic or web designer.)

Tighter engagement with a few of my favorite (and least favorite) brands: Jet Blue, The Home Depot, Ikea, Whole Foods, Liquid Highway, Bi-Lo… It’s been pretty rewarding already. Can’t wait to see what 2010 will bring when Twitter becomes even more integrated.

The list goes on. Anyway, here’s to my first full year on Twitter. Thanks for having made it a good one. :)

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Taking a "don't forget the milk on your way home" call.

Taking a "don't forget the milk on your way home" call.

In case you still aren’t sure that I am indeed a real person (made of like… matter), this may be proof. Here, I even interact with my environment:

iv20090045

Me (left) and Jordana Megonigal (right) trying to look busy

Singing McDonald's "I'm Lovin' it!" jingle, Elvis style.

Singing McDonald's "I'm Lovin' it!" jingle, Elvis style.

I can't even think of a smart caption for this.

I can't even think of a smart caption for this.

Here are a few more pics of some of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that were going on in the main exhibit hall during Innoventure 2009. Check out earlier posts to get a feel for what the sessions were all about.

Trey Pennington and Colin Martin

Trey Pennington and Colin Martin

Trey Pennington - Communications multitasker

Trey Pennington - Communications multitasker

MacBook Karaoke... I think.

MacBook Karaoke... I think.

Innoventure 2009 Tweetup

Innoventure 2009 Tweetup

Checking the Twitter action during the Tweetup

Checking the Twitter action during the Tweetup

The BrandBuilder Laptop

The BrandBuilder Laptop

For the Twitter lowdown on Innoventure 2009, check out #Innoventure09.

For video coverage of the event, go straight to the source, check out the video uploads (starting March 25th).

It was a great event. Thanks a bunch to John Warner, Sean McDonald, Phil Yanov, Bobby Rettew, innoventure 2009, the GSATC and Jute Networks for letting me hang out with some of the smartest people in the South East today.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone. :)

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John Warner gets an award for being awesome

John Warner gets an award for being awesome

Some photos from the Innoventure 2009 luncheon:

The Innoventure 2009 Luncheon crowd

The Innoventure 2009 Luncheon crowd

John Warner introduces Jute Networks

John Warner introduces Jute Networks

Robin Karol

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Innoventure 2009 - before the crowds

Innoventure 2009 - before the crowds

It’s almost lunch time. See those wraps (below)? They’re the vegetarian wraps. DO NOT eat my vegetarian wraps or there will be hell to pay. Eat the meat ones. That is all. :D

Visitor Information

Visitor Information

Vegetarian wraps (Keep away!!!)

Vegetarian wraps (Leave me one please!!!)

The Hoowaki.com Presentation

The Hoowaki.com Presentation

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Innoventure 2009

Finding myself chatting with some of Greenville’s power brokers between sessions. (No, really.) Below, some familiar Twitter names” @bigjonevans, @nullvariable, @swampfox and @lydiabreakfast.

Jon Evans (@bigjonevans) and Doug Cone (@nullvariable)

Jon Evans (@bigjonevans) and Doug Cone (@nullvariable)

John Warner deep in in conversation

John Warner (@swampfox) deep in in conversation

Lydia Dishman (@lydiabreakfast) and SCRA's Jill Hirsekorn

Lydia Dishman (@lydiabreakfast) and SCRA's Jill Hirsekorn

Doug Cone (@nullvariable) and his iThing

Doug Cone (@nullvariable) and his iThing

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John Warner

John Warner

At Innoventure 2009, listening to tissue reconstruction and biofuel research going on at Clemson University. (At the same time… but not together.) :D

Here are some photos from the opening session:

John Warner welcoming everyone to Innoventure 2009

John Warner welcoming everyone to Innoventure 2009

Phil Yanov introduces the first pannel

Phil Yanov introduces the first panel

The Innovation Pipeline panel

The Innovation Pipeline panel

Organizations represented in the Innovation Pipeline panel: SC Launch (Moderator), Clemson University, UNC Charlotte, University of South Carolina. Fascinating research being presented today, from tissue regeneration and electrochemical devices which, once implanted in the body can help treat a variety of conditions (i.e. diabetes and cardiovascular disease) to virtual police officers (a neutral interviewer for eyewitness reports) and next gen biofuels.

You guys can follow some of the discussions and coverage on Twitter by hanging out in these two rooms: Innoventure09 and IV2009.

Back in a bit with more.

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train, by olivier blanchard 2008

Just a quick little note to let everyone know I will be hanging out at the Innoventure 2009 conference tomorrow. It ought to be pretty interesting. I will of course be blogging and tweeting from the event (and yes, I am packing some cameras for good measure), so be sure to tune in.

Find out more about the event here.

Browse the agenda here.

Looking forward to sharing this event with you guys.

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I was driving back from the veterinarian’s office with Chico a couple of years ago, when the term “microventure” popped up in my buzzing little head. I did a quick google search as soon as I got home, and of course, the term had already been coined. *sigh*

Now… my definition of a microventure may be a bit different from what an economist’s would be: In my little world, a microventure is just a small 1-2 person startup that requires virtually zero capital and probably won’t, by itself, make anyone rich anytime soon.

I am talking about ventures that start very, very small and are probably based on something that you are already doing for free.

Do you knit really cool sweaters for your family and friends? Are their friends asking you to make some for them too?

Are your pies winning local awards or state fair contests every year?

Do you grow the most amazing tulips anyone in the tri-county area has ever seen?

Are your pesticide-free vegetables turning heads at the local health food store?

See where I am going with this?

My point here is you might be sitting on some pretty amazing potential. Forget affiliate marketing and MLM schemes for a second. Forget other people’s “methods” and “programs.” What we’re talking about here is creating a micro-venture around something that only you can do. Something unique to you.

I remember eating the most fantastic cheesecake in New Orleans a few years ago. I mean… this thing was unlike any other cheesecake I had ever tasted. Culinary heaven. Seriously.  I asked the waiter if they were made in-house, and he told me that no, they were baked by this little old lady in Alabama who lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere.

I should have tried to find out how the little old lady and the restaurant came to form this wonderful relationship, but I didn’t think about it until much later. The question that haunted me on my flight home though was this: How do you get from creating a unique cheesecake recipe for your family or church, to supplying one of the best restaurants in the country?

With no advertising, no startup capital, no infrastructure or representation or technology?

How?

How did this happen? A national cheesecake contest? A chance encounter? A cheesecake scout traveling the country in search of the most unique recipes?

We’ll come back to that.

Microventures can be about anything. Growing the juiciest tomatoes. Writing inspiring children’s books. Breeding gorgeous cockatiels. Making really cool looking art. Designing even cooler furniture. Designing stunning websites. Making gorgeous cabinets. Whatever. Microventures are about doing something unique. Something you can be the best in the world at. Something that will help you change the world, even if it’s just a tiny little bit.

What separates microventures from other small businesses is the fact that they are completely unique. They don’t follow a model. They aren’t a copy of what someone else is already doing. You won’t find them in infomercials. There’s no kit. There’s no program. There’s nothing to buy into. There’s no pyramid. It’s just you and your own highly specialized contribution to the world.

At their core, they are about new ideas. Serious talent. Hard work. Patience.

And most importantly, not relying on them to pay the bills anytime soon. (This is key.) Microventures are not and cannot be “get rich quick” schemes. They rarely scale quickly. They are artisan-driven in nature, through and through.

You should dream big, but you kind of have to start small. Build your business, one brick at a time. Be happy with a positive cash flow, but don’t expect to quit your day job just yet.

Note the “micro” in microventure.

Note the emphasis on “yet”.

So, back to my irrelevant little story: The car ride with Chico. The lightbulb moment. The subsequent blog search to see what (if anything) had already been written about it. Fast forward to Hugh Macleod’s “The Global Microbrand” post on gapingvoid. Pause on the WOW moment when I realize that there must be some kind of weird eureka synergy to this blogging thing.

Hugh’s global microbrand theory is kind of like the third and fourth steps in my microventure concept. (Step 1: Start. Step 2: Make money. Step 3: Work out the kinks and get really, really good at it. Step 4: Reach far beyond your zipcode.)

Here’s some of what he has to say:

Since I first used the term here in December of last year, I have been totally besotted with the idea of “The Global Microbrand”.

A small, tiny brand, that “sells” all over the world.

With the internet, of course, a global microbrand is easier to create than ever before. But they’ve existed for a while. Imagine a well-known author or painter, selling his work all over the world. Or a small whisky distillery in Scotland. Or a small cheese maker in rural France, whose produce is exported to Paris, London, Tokyo etc. Ditto with a violin maker in Italy. A classical guitar maker in Spain. A commercial sign maker in New England. Or a sheet metal entrepreneur in the U.K.

And with the advent of blogs this was no longer just limited to people who made products. We saw that any service professional with a bit of talent and something to say could spread their message far and wide beyond their immediate client base and local market, without needing a high-profile name or the goodwill of the mainstream media.

The Global Microbrand is sustainable. With it, you are not beholden to one boss, one company, one customer, one local economy or even one industry. Your brand develops relationships in enough different places to where your permanent address becomes almost irrelevant. (…)

Of course, “The Global Microbrand” is not conceptual rocket science. You don’t need a Nobel Prize in order to understand the idea. What excites me about it is the fact that I now live in a small cottage in the English boonies, and careerwise I’m getting a lot more done than when I lived in a large apartment in New York or London, for a fifth of the overheads. For one fiftieth of the stress levels.

(Read the rest of his post here)

So anyway. Yep. Blogging and connecting with people are crucial elements of creating (or at least nurturing) your own global microbrand.

Global microbrands fit much better in the web 2.0 world of quality discussions, solid referrals and passionate clients than in the scatter-shot approach of traditional advertising’s high traffic/high exposure model.

The microbrand’s highly specialized nature is exactly what makes it so relevant… and successful.

The old lady in baking cheesecakes in Alabama. The blanquette maker in Languedoc. The cabinet maker in Antwerp. The Christmas ornament maker in Sri Lanka. The business consultant in Lima. All potential global microbrands. All potential really cool little stories.

All potential agents of change.

Building a whole new world economy, one little brick at a time.

In closing, I will leave you with Hugh’s parting words from his post:

“There are thousands of reasons why people write blogs. But it seems to me the biggest reason that drives the bloggers I read the most is, we’re all looking for our own personal global microbrand. That is the prize. That is the ticket off the treadmill. And I don’t think it’s a bad one to aim for. (…) as long as we keep blogging, avoid high overheads and keep making the best suits in the world, nobody can take it away from us.”

In this economy more than ever, put your passion to work. It may very well be one of the most rewarding adventures you’ll ever go on… and in a few years, you may look back on it as one of the smartest business decisions you ever made.

Have a great Monday, everyone.

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Metal, by Olivier Blanchard 2008

In the spirit of Twitter’s Follow Friday, here is a list of blogs you should absolutely be reading if you enjoy what I write about here. All of these blogs touch on the topics of real marketing, smart business and inspired design.

1. Bloghound

Beeline Labs’ Lois Kelly has a blog, and it rocks. Not as flashy as some of the other A and B+ listers you probably already follow, but Lois is just brilliant. (And she keeps her posts short, which is something I always find awe-inspiring.)

2. A Clear Eye

Tom Asacker needs to get more face time withyou guys. The guy is brilliant and his book (A Little Less Conversation) is a must-read. If you aren’t familiar with Tom’s work, get acquainted. (And add his book to your library.)

3. Marenated

Yeah, I know Maren Hogan is a recruiter and not a marketing blogger. I don’t care. And maybe that’s the point: Here is a blogger (a vlogger, even) who uses blogs, Twitter, Seesmic and a pretty impressive toolbox of social media tools, refreshing honesty and fantastic insights to turn her industry upside down – for the greater good. Start reading her blog, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her via video on Seesmic.

4. The Altimeter

While everyone else is talking about where Social Media is today, Charlene Li already has her eye on the medium’s next evolution (or two). If you are getting a little tired of the same old discussions, check out Charlene’s take on where this is all going and what companies in the enterprise space are doing to engage with their customers. This is Social Media for grown ups. You know… with real data and stuff. (Yeah, your boss may actually like what she has to say.)

5. Change This!

These guys basically put together manifestos, all worth printing and leaving on people’s desks after hours, when no one is around. Shhhhh… Be vewy quiet. Changing the world one cubicle prisoner at a time can be dangerous business.

6. Piaras Kelly PR

If you’re a PR professional working in the US, up your game by seeing how the PR game is played in Europe. I have two words for you: Edelman Ireland. Need I say more? Seriously. Add Piaras’ blog to your daily read and I guarantee your PR game will go from zero to hero in just a few months.

7. Sonny Gill

If you aren’t already following Sonny, I’m worried about you. (Sonny is one of the freshest and sharpest minds in the Marketing  and Social Media strategery worlds today.) And by the way, Sonny may be interviewing new employers soon, so if you want t have a shot at him, get in line while he is still considering his options.

8. Conversation Agent

Valeria Maltoni isn’t just cool, brilliant and obsessed about this stuff, she also has gravitas. (Inside joke.) Seriously though, Conversation Agent is a must read.

9. Altitude Branding

Amber Naslund may not be as much of a household name as Dave Armano, John Moore, Beth Harte, Francois Gossieaux, Jackie Huba, Mack Collier or Chris Brogan (yet) but her insights are no less indispensible to your professional growth. Look… If I had to put together a marketing advisory board, Amber would be one of the first people I would try to recruit for it. Read her stuff.

10. Living Brands

Okay, this one is kind of a wild card… but that’s the point. I wanted to mix some important but predictable choices with a few blogs that might be completely off your radar. Living Brands should be the latter. It’s good stuff. Check it out.

Okay, I am still sick today, so I’ll leave it at that. Have a terrific Friday, everyone. :)

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Via the Thinkhammer blog and the I’m Not Really A Geek blog, this great little cautionary tale / wake-up call for people who don’t quite grasp that EVERYTHING they post on the internet is 100% public.

If you aren’t familiar with this story yet, let me set it up for you:

1. Dude gets job with Cisco.

2. Dude posts less than enthused opinion about the Cisco job on Twitter (actually naming Cisco as his new employer).

3. Cisco employee on Twitter spots the post and promptly responds.

4. Dude blocks his Twitter updates (hides them from public view)… but it’s too late. The damage is done, and he probably spends most of the day wondering if Cisco will now rethink its job offer.

Check this out:

theconnor_ciscofatty2

And the response by the Cisco guy:

fatty_answer

Ouch. @theconnor probably didn’t expect that, did he?

But the question is… What did he expect? That a comment posted on a public stream in the fastest growing social media “channel” on the planet, one currently used by 2,000,000 people and feeding into other services like Facebook and MySpace would go unnoticed?

Just because your boss, coworker, spouse or neighbor doesn’t know about Twitter, doesn’t read blogs and refuses to join FaceBook doesn’t mean your comments on the web won’t get back to him/her.

What you post on the internet today may not come back to haunt you tomorrow, but it definitely will someday. Everything on the web is archivable, which means it is also searchable. Comments you make today will be popping up in searches ten years from now.

What does this all mean? Simple: Everything you say/write can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion someday, somehow. Your behavior on the web can cost you a new job, a promotion, your career, your marriage, your friendships, endorsements, and even take you out of contention for college scholarships, military/law enforcement service, or public office.

So please, please, PLEASE, for your own sake THINK about what you are about to post to the web (especially blogs, social networking sites and Twitter). Before you click “send,” “publish” or “update,” assume that everyone you know will read your comment. And by everyone, I mean your boss, coworkers, parents, grandparents, exes, recruiters, future employers, and yes, even your kids (even if you don’t have any yet).

Use your brains. The internet is a very public place. More so even than the water cooler. Exercise the same common sense and decorum you would in “real life” social situations.

Have a great Thursday. :)

Update: Based on the comments I have received over the weekend, it seems that @theconnor may have actually been a woman, not a “dude.” That information was not available to me when I published this post.  Thanks for letting me know.

Update #2: I am not sure that this is actually written by the real @theconnor or pointed to by the real Tim Levad, but it’s a good post and a nice way to continue the conversation on this topic. Click here.

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Today is a sick day.

rx

They don’t come very often, but every once in a while, I have to take a day off and nurse some kind of bug. I’m not a huge fan of dragging out an illness for a week or two, so I unleash holy hell on whatever cold, flu, stomach or other pesky little organism tries to invade my borders in an attempt to nip it inside of 48 hours. Call it a blitzkrieg, call it “shock and awe”… I just call it Tuesday March 17, 2009.

The methodology:

  1. Fluids. Lots of fluids. Mostly caffeine-free green tea.
  2. Rest. Lots of rest. 12+ hours of sleep. (Yes, I can make myself sleep that long.)
  3. Double-doses of Emergen-C “Immune Defense” every 4 hours while awake. (That stuff has enough vitamin C and zinc to kill a small rodent.)
  4. 400mg of Echinacea every 12 hours.
  5. More rest. More fluids. Ibuprofen if I am sporting a headache. (That is probably the only thing I take that treats symptoms rather than the cause, but I am just not pleasant to be around when I have a headache.)

Did I forget anything? Do you guys have any other remedies that work for you? Are you more into modern medicine or witch doctor natural remedies?

By the way, check out a few interesting bits of data regarding natural vs. pharmaceutical medicines:

More than 50 percent of the drugs made in pharmaceutical companies are actually made with plant derivatives, such as digitalis (made from foxgloves) and taxol (from the Pacific Yew). (Source: World Health Organization)

Also according to the World Health Organization, in some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depend on traditional medicine for primary health care.

In many developed countries, 70% to 80% of the population has used some form of alternative or complementary medicine.

In the US, as more and more Americans lose their jobs and find themselves in a situation where they can no longer afford health insurance (affordable healthcare being relatively non-existent outside of the health insurance system) the natural health industry may find itself positively impacted by a growing number of disenfranchized patients looking for alternatives in health management. I am not suggesting that this is a good thing, by the way. As much as I dig the natural approach to health management, there is a lot of bulls**t out here as well, and not having a doctor or certified medical professional in your corner to advise you is NOT a good thing. Some herbal remedy companies may take advantage of this growth in demand to flood the market with questionable products… There will be horror stories.  But get ready: Pharmaceutical companies, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and the government are going to have to come up with some kind of plan, or they (minus the govt.) are going to be the next casualties of this economic crisis.

The last thing we need is an healthcare bailout. (We can’t afford to prop up big pharma, hospitals AND insurance companies.)

Something to think about. In the meantime, I am going back to bed.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day. :)

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Thank goodness for SxSW Bingo!

sxsw-bingo-22774-1236890514-11

For those of us who can’t be at SxSW this year, at least there’s SxSW Bingo.

(I may blow this up, print it, frame it, and hang it over my desk.)

Hat tip to BuzzFeed’s Scott Lamb for the find and mad props to Iridesco for the design. (Download a PDF version here.)

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