Friday, December 31, 2010

Social Media and Politics: A Look at the reach of 'Social Media Mayor' @corybooker

Recently, I was catching up on the news, when I spotted an article on Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker by @SuzanneVara, that praised his use of social media to keep residents informed about the cleanup effort after the snow that blanketed and buried much of the North East.

The article made mention of his (as of March 8, 2010) 1.1 million Twitter “followers”, plus nearly 20,000 Facebook “fans”.

Intrigued, looked him up on twitter and WOW. The man *gets it*.

That made me think about my own local Mayor and how Greensboro, NC city government uses (or doesn't) social media.

Greensboro City (no one on City Council or the Mayor has a twitter account) Twitter account was mainly a one way street until yesterday (see for yourself). No engagement and not following local residents who follow them. They don't *get it is my first reaction.

How can a Mayor with over a million twitter followers and Nearly 35, 000 facebook 'likers' manage to handle social media with ease while Greensboro City gimps along telling us who wish to speak with them "Because of the volume of mail received by the Mayor and Council, please do not expect a personal reply but be assured that the Mayor and/or Council member will read your message." Really Greensboro? Really?

It started with one RT, then another . . . soon many social media users in our #triad community were joining in a very robust discussion in 140 or less about how they all wished our community leaders took the time that Mayor @CoryBooker did, to show that they cared about what we thought, support us in what we were doing to build a stronger community on our own and to be more than just another account vomiting information.

Soon Donnie Turlington chimed in to assure us that changes were coming for Greensboro. Slowly, but they were on the way for @greensborocity in 2011.

(Thanks @vkearns @KristenDaukas @SHDickson @brandonburke @scheumanncpa @brandonpierce @doggdaze @PaulJones3 @Donnie_T for participating in this discussion about how we want change from @greensborocity & @CityofWS)

Lesson :

Mayor Cory Booker did more than use twitter to help clean up the streets of Newark, NJ, he helped residents in another state expect more from our local government online.

Thank you Mayor Booker for being the spark to a great discussion in the Triad and across the country!

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For more US Government using Social Media here is a great resource!

How does your local government/city officals use social media?

Who is doing it right?

What kind of engagement do you expect from politicians using social media?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Discounts, Freebies and "Picking Your Brain" does for Business

It's just a fact - you "do someone a favor" by discounting or giving your services away - they never respect your time, energy or talent and often have a deadline of next week or "by Thursday if you can squeeze me in."

This lack of respect and unrealistic expectations create an impossible situation of resentment for both parties. Especially when you don't say no.

Here are 5 reasons NOT to do that job for FREE.

I have had many business mentors tell me this and I now firmly believe it : People only appreciate what they earn or pay for, and even then it's iffy.

Now, I am not saying that ALL discounts, freebies and "picking your brain" sessions are bad. But in my experience, unless what you are giving away has a relatively low impact on the overhead of your company or your family time, it's not worth the headache and lost revenue when you have to pass on paying projects to keep your "freebie" promises.

The people asking you for these favors often don't care that you have a car payment due, or that little Billy needs braces. They only want to know why you haven't given them that 5th set of revisions on that "little" project, or finished adding the 7 extra mock-ups above what they paid for and you planned for . . . . and next time some one want's to pick your brain, use these 23 answers and take it from there.

Let's be clear - There are many deserving charity cases that truly need your time and talent. And when you discover one that resonates with you - then go for it! But when what you have been asked to give takes you away from your paying clients, keeps you at your desk long after you are frazzled and leaves your family scratching their heads on your decisions . . . it's not worth it. I understand that there are pros and cons to this debate, and moving forward I will be more judicious with my time.

Biggest lesson I will take from 2010 into 2011. Learning to say no more often.

My husband has been a HUGE help with this process over the last two years. Creating and protecting our own boundaries (among other things) has been key to keeping the lights on.

I will be the first to admit that we've made poor judgements. Even given discounts in services in exchange for "credit" via social networks that never materialized and ended up costing our family company money.

Learning to say no, even to people you care for, is part of keeping those boundaries protected and living a well rounded and healthy life.

Regardless if it is a family member who wants a "free" website for their business because times are tough- then takes off to Tahiti for a week, or the old friend who needs a "little logo work" that snowballs and ends up costing your company thousands of dollars in man hours and then you never hear from them again . . . bottom line: don't be guilted into a project. Though I understand that there are two sides to website "favors".

Also, don't let someone give you the line of BS that "oh, I will get you SO much exposure" or "this would mean so much to me", or what I affectionately call the 'carrot' of "oh, I've been talking to BIG COMPANY XYZ and will bring you in as soon as I get the go ahead" right after they get you for a quote for services and a free copy of your non-disclosure :: Best one yet - the "it's just a button" cry when asking you about adding e-commerce to their website by Friday. NO, NO, NO and NO!

What does discounts, freebies and "picking your brain" do for business : In moderation it can help you grow like never before, teach you new things and build strong relationships in your community - but left unchecked, you won't make room in your schedule for the people who want to pay you what you are worth, appreciate your brilliant ideas and who respect your time.

One last bit on the "pick your brain sessions" . . . take some advice from Stever Robbins "your ideas are worth MORE than just a cup of coffee."

Damn straight they are Stever! Damn straight.

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What have you learned from 2010?

Will you be more protective of your time and talent? How?

Who is the worst offender of asking for "freebies" from you & your company?

Share your experience of giving away/discounting services . . .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Every Child Deserves to Smile

It was an honor to recently be asked by Development Director, Wendy Rothstein, of the Carolina's Chapter of Operation Smile to participate in 2011's Dancing with the Carolina Stars.

It is my goal to exceed the $5000.00 that I have been challenged to raise. . . with your help.

"Operation Smile is a mobilized force of medical professionals and caring hearts who provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate."

Please help me spread the word by tweeting (@dhatfield @operationsmile), tagging me and Operation Smile in Facebook posts - share this in emails and blog posts with a link back to my donation page.

Every donation counts. You can donate as little as 10.00 or as much as you want.

Want to come to the event? Tickets are on sale now!

Every child deserves to smile.

Take a moment to learn about how important your donation is. Visit Operation Smile's Patient Stories Page and remember that their work impacts lives of local children as well.

:: Here is an excerpt from this page ::

Patient Stories

Lives transformed in as little as 45 minutes.

Children who are born with cleft lip or cleft palate are faced with challenges many of us cannot ever imagine. Many have difficulty eating, speaking or even smiling and in some parts of the world, they are hidden away, kept from socializing, attending school or playing an active role in their community.

Operation Smile reverses this in less than an hour. Our volunteers work tirelessly to help these children have a bright and hopeful future. Throughout the world, more than 150,000 children have experienced this transformation, and a few of their stories are told here.

Abdukerim Before

Fowz loved her son, but knew she could never afford the surgery to mend his smile. She worried that he would be bound to a life of shame and isolation.

Adel's speech was so hindered by his cleft palate, his mother was worried his teacher would not graduate Adel to the first grade.

Ammulu was born with a severe facial deformity that made eating and drinking difficult.

Thanks to friends like you, Angel received a new smile and was spared the taunts and rejection that facial deformities bring. Now his future looks bright and filled with opportunity.

One of 160 children healed on a Barinas, Venezuela, mission

Unable to afford surgery, Binh's parents were distraught. Then they heard about Operation Smile’s new Comprehensive Care Center in Hue.