Cool! @LewisHowes new book “The Ultimat


Cool! @LewisHowes new book “The Ultimate Webinar Marketing Guide” is free to download to your Kindle 3/7-8! http://ow.ly/9vZas

Book Review: Downward Dog Upward Fog


Have you ever felt that you were looking for something but didn’t know just what, then find it and instantly know that it’s not only what you’ve been looking for, it’s what you need? That’s sort of how it was for me with Downward Dog Upward Fog, a novel by Meryl Davids Landau.

I was looking for some light summer reading when a friend gave me this book. I read the back cover and instantly was intrigued because, like me, the protagonist (Lorna) is a woman with a great life, but she still feels something’s missing. She’s become impatient, critical, short-tempered, and nothing seems to go right for her. Until she finds her spiritual side, that is. Then, somewhat predictably, everything changes.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say the author somehow stepped into my brain and siphoned my thoughts. How else could Lorna think and behave the same as me? I suppose that’s one of the most delightful things about this book — it was easy to imagine the story happening to me.

I never cease to be amazed at how easy it is to fall into a place where mole hills are mountains and negative energy comes from everywhere before I realize that I am the problem. When I change my perception, I change my reality.

This book was just what I needed because it reminded me to reconnect with my spiritual side. I have a long way to go before I reach the plane Lorna achieves by the end of the book, but today I recommit to trying.

If something seems to be missing from your life and you can’t quite put your finger on it, I encourage you to read Downward Dog Upward Fog.

Reasons Earth Day Seems More Important This Year


The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

Image via Wikipedia

Today’s Earth Day.  Although I was in third grade at the time of the first Earth Day, none of them have been particularly significant to me until this year. Why is that? Why is it that this year I suddenly am so aware of the condition of our planet? After some consideration, I came up with five reasons.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster brought about by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan demonstrated that, despite all of the safety regulations and precautions that may be in place based upon prior events, we cannot predict the future. Nuclear energy is not clean energy, and the consequences of its use are disastrous.  How many more nuclear disasters will it take before it is eliminated?

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill spewed massive amounts of oil — official estimates indicate 210, 000 gallons per day, although some scientists estimate much more — into the Gulf of Mexico for 85 days.  I was physically queasy and lost sleep for weeks on end as the situation continued day after day with no hope in sight. Some people say the effects were minimal, but I disagree.  How did it make you feel?

The political unrest in the Middle East makes our nation’s continued dependence on oil disturbing at best.  Nonetheless, it brings to light the fact that Americans only curb their appetite for oil when its cost skyrockets.  If high prices will force people to reduce their consumption of oil, then maybe  prices should remain high.  Yes, I know it’s damaging to our struggling economy.  I feel it, too, but the effect on our economy doesn’t change the fact that failure to reduce, if not eliminate, our gluttonous consumption of fossil fuels is disastrous for our planet.  Struggle now or eventually eliminate life as we know it.  Is the choice really that difficult?

Becoming a parent has made me acutely aware of the future.  No longer do I live a carefree existence  from day to day.  With children comes the responsibility of providing adequate food, clothing, and shelter, along with a healthy planet that will allow them and their own children to thrive.

In spite of all of these things, I contribute daily to the pollution of the Earth by driving my car to the store that sells products wrapped in too much packaging,  buying products that are not organic because the organic stuff is too expensive, and often tote it all home in single-use bags because the reusable ones were forgotten at home. These are just a few of the ways I negatively impact the planet, but don’t think I’m very different from the average American.  We know green is good, and we want to be more green, but we can’t see the forest for the trees.  What I mean is that it seems the consequences of changing are expensive when the truth is that the consequences of NOT changing are what’s really expensive.  For proof, just look at the price of gas.

I try to remember to take my reusable bags to the store, recycle what I can, adjust what I’m wearing rather than the  thermostat, remember to turn out the lights when I leave the room, use washable containers instead of disposable plastic, take shorter showers, hang clothing to dry instead of using the clothes dryer, unplug appliances when not in use, use natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar, and so on.  Sadly, these actions just aren’t enough.   To save life as we know it on this planet, there must be action on a much larger scale.  Does that mean I shouldn’t continue to try?  Absolutely not!  By continuing to take these small actions and adding just one new thing ever so often, I set an example for my children that living sustainably is a worthy and achievable goal.

I wish I was clever enough to solve the world’s problems.  My children are pretty smart; maybe they will be the ones to find a way to undo the damage that’s been done and lead their generation through to better days.  Only time will tell.  One thing’s for certain:  Earth Day 2011 is a good time to contemplate mistakes of the past, what we are doing in the present, and what we can do to improve in the future because if we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem.

What are you doing to ensure a sustainable future?

Charlotte Poltenovage

17 Attention-Worthy Social Media Articles from 1/18/11 – 2/14/11


Since coming to terms with the fact that I can’t possibly keep up with everything, I haven’t been paying as much attention to my RSS feed as I once did.  When I finally did get around to it, there were well over 1,000 articles.  The ones I reviewed here are the ones that I feel are most valuable to my readers, divided by subject.

Social Media and the News:

The biggest news by far is The Social (Media) Revolution We Just Saw in Egypt but, since you probably heard about that elsewhere, I’m going to skip it except to point out that social media and mobile communications played a key role.  For more information, see http://socialmediatoday.com/rohnjaymiller1/269506/social-media-revolution-we-just-saw-egypt.

With the use of social media during national and international crises was in the spotlight, Mashable provided an interesting infographic about How We Use Social Media During Emergencies, and I thought it was worth sharing BEFORE we have such a need, but I hope we never do.  http://mashable.com/2011/02/11/social-media-in-emergencies/

Facebook:

A few days ago, Facebook released some sweeping changes to Pages, finally giving admins notification when a comment is posted on their Facebook page.  I’ve been using Hyper Alerts to do that for a while now and like what they offer better.  (find them at http://www.hyperalerts.no/).
My favorite part of the new functionality is being able to post as either myself or one of the many pages I manage.  It takes a little getting used to, but I’m liking it overall.
For more detail on the changes, I recommend reading “Facebook Updates Fan Pages (Finally Does Something Right)”  (http://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-updates-fan-pages-finally-does-something-right/27838/).

With these upgrades making it easier to monitor and manage your business pages, now is a good time to create that engagement policy you’ve been putting off.  Mashable’s “HOW TO: Create a Facebook Engagement Policy” can help you do just that.  (http://mashable.com/2011/01/31/facebook-engagement-policy/)  Since every business is different, it’s up to you to define what works for you, but this article will point you in the right direction.

Websites/SEO

Search Engine Journal gave us “SEO Competitive Analysis: Your Roadmap to Ranking #1 On Google,” a high-level (if not oversimplified) overview of Search Engine Optimization.  (http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-competitive-analysis-your-roadmap-to-ranking-1-on-google/27763/)

The article makes everything sound simple and straightforward, but let me assure you that people specialize in SEO for a reason.  Can you do it yourself?  Probably.  Dare you?  That’s something only you can decide.  In the event you hire someone to handle your SEO, this article will help you understand what you should be getting.

Marketing

I came across several interesting articles on the subject of e-mail marketing, and they all seem to tie together.

” How to Use Your Blog as a Marketing Tool” from For Bloggers By Bloggers.
(http://bestbloggingtipsonline.com/blog-marketing-tool/)  As the name implies, this article provides a number of tips for using your blog as a marketing tool and briefly mentions e-mail marketing as one of a few “community spirit” options.

Next is “How Blogs Are More Useful Than Email Newsletters.”  (http://socialmediatoday.com/craigthomler/267296/ten-reasons-why-blogs-are-more-useful-email-newsletters)  This article closes with, “Build a blog and use your newsletter to drive traffic to it. That way you’ll get the best of both worlds, targeting and flexibility.”  Sounds similar to the first article, right?  That’s okay.  So far, so good.

Next comes “A Lesson in Email Marketing” from Social Media Today’s Casey Barto (http://socialmediatoday.com/caseybarto/268763/lesson-email-marketing) who essentially cautions us to provide quality content or suffer the consequences.  Sounds like reasonable advice, just a little more ominous.

I found all of these articles particularly interesting because I first read Jay Baer’s “Invitation Avalanches, Attention Infidelity, and the Science of the Social Break-Up”
(http://www.convinceandconvert.com/email-marketing-advice/invitation-avalanches-attention-infidelity-and-the-science-of-the-social-break-up/) which detailed some, frankly, startling statistics that appear to predict a significant decline in the value of e-mail marketing.
What do you make of it all?  Will e-mail marketing continue to be a valuable tool for a while longer or are those days nearly over?

Blogging

While I’m not ready to comment on these, I am anxious to spend more time exploring the “5 Useful Google Chrome Extensions for Blogging” from Social Media Today (http://socialmediatoday.com/akop38/265850/5-useful-google-chrome-extensions-blogging).  Do you have experience with them?  If so, please share.
Another article that falls into the “I need this myself” category is Social Media Today’s “Dear Bloggers: You Are Making it Too Difficult to Share Your Content.”  (http://www.theharteofmarketing.com/2011/01/make-content-sharing-easy.html)

LinkedIn
The more time I spend on LinkedIn, the more I like it.  Just like any other social media site, though, just being there isn’t enough; you have to work it to gain any benefit.  If you’re ready to step beyond your basic profile, check out Social Media Examiner’s “8 New LinkedIn Features Worth Exploration.”  (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/8-new-linkedin-features-worth-exploration/)

Technology

Common in Japan, the use of QR codes in the US is on the rise because they can contain immense amounts of data.  Social Media Today explains why and where QR codes could begin appearing within the retail sector in “Three Ways QR Codes Can Be Used by Retail Brands in Social Media & Marketing Activities.”  (http://socialmediatoday.com/george-guildford/267046/three-ways-qr-codes-can-be-utilised-retail-brands-part-their-overall-social-)  Are you using QR codes?  If not, will you?

YouTube

Have you ever visited YouTube only to fall into a time warp and not emerge until much later than you planned?  ”  How to Search YouTube Like a PRO with Google Advanced Operators” from Make Use Of will help you avoid that by improving your searches.  (http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/search-youtube-pro-google-advanced-operators/)

Infographics

If you’re into visuals (and who isn’t?), you can find a graphic for just about anything you want to know about social media in “65 Terrific Social Media Infographics” from Social Media Today (http://socialmediatoday.com/pamdyer/266010/65-terrific-social-media-infographics).

If you’re wondering what your social media goals should be for 2011, look no further than Social Media Examiner’s article “Study Reveals Top 6 Social Media Goals for 2011.”   (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/study-reveals-top-6-social-media-goals-for-2011/).  The article explains that an Altimeter Group survey asked 140 corporate social strategists about their 2011 planning, and Social Media Examiner uses easy-to-read graphs to show that integration, staffing, advertising and measurement are all key areas of focus for social media strategists in 2011.

There you have it!  1000+ articles whittled WAY down to 17.  Please let me know if you’re looking for information about any particular subject that isn’t getting attention.

My RSS feed


I finally got around to setting up an RSS feed which I hope will make it easier to keep up with the seemingly limitless amount of data coming at me daily.

I chose Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader) for the RSS feed. It was easy to install and use with the exception that it won’t delete or hide things I’ve already read. That frustrated me because I often come across content that will need to be accessed again sometime or I just don’t have time to digest at the moment. With well over 100 articles in the feed just since 1/18/11, it was readily apparent that the list soon would become too cumbersome to maneuver.

Enter Delicious (http://www.delicious.com/): a tool that allows me to collect my bookmarks, add tags and notes, search them, and also see what other people are bookmarking (another way to find good content I may have missed).

With Google Reader and Delicious in place, it took a fraction of the time it used to take to sort through more than 100 articles and find keepers (19 this week) covering topics from SEO optimization, content marketing, blogs, security, Facebook, and apps. There are lots of different options available for RSS feeds. This is just what I’ve chosen to use for now.

If you’ve had experience — good or bad — with other tools, I’d love to hear about them.

News You Can Use: Top Five Social Media Sites January 9 – 17


I was going to post a list of all the great social media articles I’ve come across in the past week.  In fact, a lot of time went into compiling the list.  Then I saw a list of the Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs and realized that even though I regularly follow several of them and consume vast quantities of information daily, there’s no way one person CAN read everything.  If no one can, then I don’t have to, either!  PHEW!  What a relief!  I feel as though an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders!  That said, now I have a problem.

If you can’t read everything but can’t ignore everything, either, how does a  person choose what to read?  To answer that question, perhaps we should consider the list.  http://www.junta42.com/community/top-42-content-marketing-blogs.aspx First, I found it in my Facebook news feed from Social Media Examiner (which, not coincidentally, comes in at number 6 on the list).  Second, “The Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs list highlights the best bloggers on the web discussing content marketing. Each blog on the list has been rated by our expert staff in terms of content strength, depth, regularity and, to a very small extent, popularity.”  In other words, it’s just someone else’s opinion.  Again, more weight lifted.  I’m practically floating here!

After much consideration, I’ve decided to share with you my own favorites (for this week, anyway) based upon who I think my audience is and the information that I think would benefit you.

1.  First on my list is Social Media Examiner.  I liked everything they posted this week.  They cover a wide variety of social media topics, and I like their use of videos (especially the ones with Mari Smith).  http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

2.  Next is Social Media Today.  Again, they post a wide variety of interesting social media articles.  Just this week, there were articles about SEO, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, using social media to get a job, and more.  http://socialmediatoday.com/

3.   Search Engine Journal comes in at number three this week because I liked a couple of their articles about Facebook and another about Social Networking and SEO.  http://www.searchenginejournal.com/

4.  Fourth, and this may be more about my desire to improve my blog than it is about my audience (though you probably should have a blog if you’re using social media to market your business), I found a lot of good content from Danny Brown and friends at  http://bestbloggingtipsonline.com/

5.  Finishing out my top five this week is Mari Smith.  Mari’s specialty is Facebook, but she is a consistent purveyor of all kinds of social media tips and tricks, and this week was no different.  Besides, she’s just fun.  http://www.marismith.com/mari-smith-blog/

So, there’s my list.  That’s not to say that Junta42’s list isn’t fantastic.  I’m sure it is.  I just don’t think my readers (is anyone out there?) have enough time to digest that much information.

Which blogs do you follow?  Will you add any of these to your list?

Could Your Child Have an Undiagnosed Vision Problem?


Human eye.

Image via Wikipedia

Does your child have trouble staying on task?  Dislike reading?  Struggle in school? If so, s/he may have an undiagnosed vision problem.

Many people are surprised to learn that a child can pass a school vision screening and still have an issue that affects school performance?   Uncorrected vision problems can lead to trouble with learning, behavior, and self-esteem, so early examination by a doctor qualified and equipped to evaluate children is critical.

Before starting school, children use their eyes mostly for seeing things at a distance. In school, however, they need to focus up close.   Children with vision problems think everyone sees the same way, so they rarely report difficulty.   They don’t realize that consistent loss of place when reading, loss of concentration, intermittent blurriness, headaches, and eye strain all are symptoms of vision problems.

One mother relayed her child’s story this way:

“My daughter struggled to be an average student. When she was in the 6th grade, her teacher suggested that I have her eyes examined.   I’ll never forget the day she got her glasses.  She put them on and ran across the room to the window shouting, ‘I can see!’   She looked out the window and said, ‘Mama!   There are trees over there!‘  It broke my heart to think of how many years she had struggled all because the child simply couldn’t see, and I didn’t know it!”

When was the last time your child’s eyes were examined by a professional?

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