Update to Planking? Why?!?….OWLING!!!

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I convinced my GI Joe to Plank!

Update:  Since I am not a fan of “meme” (a piece of content like images, videos, passed along the internet in a viral fashion)  like planking,  I am intrigued at the fact that a good friend showed me that I am actually outdated to the more “sophisticated” (?) form of owling.

More than likely you have found out that people are Planking.   According to Wikipedia (where else am I going to find information about this),  “Planking or the lying down game is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game.”

The reason?  Because it is ridiculous and apparently its more interesting to watch than standing by a monument and smiling for the camara.

BBC.co.uk wrote an interesting article about planking and how in one case, led to a young man’s death (he was on a balcony and well…fell down).

You can rank planking on the level of flash mobs where people assemble in public places to do some sort of dance or coordinated activity and then disperse.   Even Fox has a show called Mobbed, based on this premise.

On the one hand, it can been seen as extremely pointless as more people would engage in planking than voting in an election.  On the other, it unites people in their sharing of a common activity, even if just to entertain themselves.

I am not as into my camera to engage in planking, but I don’t mind allowing my GI Joe to do it (I just have two GI Joes that I keep for memories sake…in case you’re wondering).  What do you think about Planking?   Got any cool planking pictures?


Education Advocate? Follow #SOSMarch this Saturday!

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On a personal level, I have always been for community support of public education.  It is why my clients Paterson Education Fund,  Statewide Education Organizing Committee and T.J.Best for Passaic County are huge education advocates, I really want to see great things happen for ALL our children’s education.  We need more folks to go to board meetings, rally’s and events to advocate for their children.  One such event is the Save our Schools march this Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at 12pm in Washington D.C.

If you can’t get on a bus to join us on the march for our children, you can follow people’s experience by going to twitter and doing a search for the hashtag #SOSmarch (or click on the provided link).  People will post live updates and other followers will continue the conversation about saving our schools.   It would be a great way to get to know other folks passionate about public education in New Jersey and the U.S.   You can also search for #edchat, #bloggermarch, #edreform and you will find many folks posting about this particular march.

Check out my article about learning Twitterese to understand what hashtags are.  *PLEASE NOTE: You can do a search and read the posts and access the articles shared without a Twitter account.  However, you cannot engage in the conversation without a Twitter account.   The conversation is on even as we speak so check it out!

Screenshot of the search results for #SOSmarch

Learn a new language: Twitterese


When Sharing, blogs always ask to send to twitter also.

Twitter is the other social media power house that usually stands next to Facebook when a news article or organization’s blog asks you to share content on your profile.    However, many folks shy away from twitter because it is hard to understand the convoluted 140 characters and keeping track of all the posts in their twitter time line.   So the following is a quick crash course of reading a tweet.

Folks on twitter often share links and drive discussion around those links.  However, due to 140 characters limitation,  twitter automatically shortens the link address to 19 characters.  The link to my article on Monday is https://moraloutreach.wordpress.com/?p=172&preview=true (59 characters), so it takes up much more space.  So twitter automatically shortens the link t 19 characters and will show up like this:

The link will be shortened to save on the 140 character limit.

The dead giveaway is the http, which tells you it is a link to whatever the person is referring to.   Something that is the cornerstone of twitter are hashtags.   You will see them with the # sign then a word following it. There are often conversations that occur under designated hashtags. You can consider them as chat rooms where folks post their tweets and anyone who does a search for that specific hashtag will see all tweets with said hashtag, for example:

I replied to someone's tweet and included the response in two different hash tags.

If you do a search for edchat, you will see all the folks discussing issues re: education.

When you hear on major news sources about what is “trending”, they are talking about hashtags.   At the time I took the above screen shot, Donovan McNabb of the Washington Redskin and Joe Arroyo, legendary Columbian salsa singer were popular topics at that moment.

Coincidently, anyone can create a hashtag.  So if I say we are organizing a rally, like the organization Save Our Schools is organizing around education policy in Washington D.C., they started the #SOSmarch and marketed that hashtag so their fans and followers learn about said rally.   If you don’t spread the word, folks wont learn about your hash tag and therefore, will not search for it.   It is a great way to engage with people who are not your followers.  If you offer good insight, read other peoples articles and offer great content,  it will increase the chances they will follow your twitter and ultimately, your brand. It is all part of an over all social media strategy.

By simply clicking reply or even retweeting (which allows you to repost a tweet you enjoyed), it also helps to encourage others to do the same for you.    As you can see, social media is about relationship building. So reading other people’s post and commenting and showing support is the best way for them to return the favor.  It’s a great way to connect with others you wouldn’t connect with in real-time.

That being said,  all you need now is to learn of different hashtags so you can begin building relationships and building followers.

Which issues would you like to follow via twitter?

Organize your friends once and for all!

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Finally herd your friends together all at once

Don’t you wish you can get all your friends organized?  You know, having your family together all in one place at the same time.  How about friends from college or high school friends for a reunion?  Do you want to engage in a discussion with your liberal friends without angering your conservative friends (and vice versa)? This is possible by organizing your Facebook friend lists.

Using friend lists will allow you to post to specific groups when you want.  You can use it to create privacy settings for people and even see the status updates of specific groups of people in your recent news.    Essentially, you can separate what each group can see when you post and get updated on what specific groups are doing.

Minor drawback is that you cannot create specific friend list on Facebook fan pages and group pages and putting your friends into list can be a tad tedious.  However, once you create the lists (you can take your time, 10 friends a night), you will have complete control over who sees what and when.

Here are the screenshots of how you can make this happen.

In your home page, click on the friends link.

Then click on Manage Friend List

Then click on Create List

That is all.  Easy Breezy.    Give it a try by sending a status update to a specific group of people or click on Recent News above the status update bar and you can view the updates of specific groups as well.

Facebook Personal Profile vs. Fan pages

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Although Google+ just reached the 20 million visitors in 21 days mark, Facebook remains the focus of Social Media Management groups in their efforts to get you to use Facebook effectively.  Google+ has not proven its usefulness to business and non-profits yet as it is still in its testing phases.   I am on google+ now and surfing around to see how I like it.  In 3 weeks time, I will give my insight on the social media tool.

As I mentioned before, Facebook is still number 1 in the social media kingdom. However, people still are not exactly sure about the differences between Facebook Profiles and Fan pages.  The following are some graphics I prepared that I hope can give a visual context of these two profiles.   .

Facebook Profile

The most basic page: You cannot be on Facebook without one.

First and Foremost, Your Profile Page is YOU.  It is where you are represented as an individual. Where you can share with your friends your own interest as you see fit.  This is where you can Customize Privacy as you wish.

You can decide that only your friends from your neighborhood can see pictures of you at the local BBQ.   You can share with your extended family the funny ways your children beg you to take them to the park.  Or you can share interesting articles with co-workers about the new trends in housing prices.

The drawback to the Facebook Profile when it comes to branding is people cannot see who is behind the brand.  Facebook is about building relationships and if you are using a personal profile to promote your brand, you are losing out on some of the features offered by Fan pages that can aid you in your social media strategy. Not to mention that soliciting your friends violates Facebook terms of agreement and they can shut your profile down.

Facebook Fan pages

Yellow is the brand, Red are the administrators, Shades of blue are all potential fans, clients, volunteers, and donors.

Facebook fan page is the next level of you as an individual page. The focus is the Brand (in yellow).  You and your team members are the administrators (red), the ones who advance the goals of the brand.   The blue circles are the friends of the administrators that choose to become fans of the page.  As you can see, fans can come from anywhere, even if they are not fans of the administrator that choose to follow your brand.   There is no accepting fans here, they just choose to “like” your page.

The major focus of the fan page is that it focuses on the Brand you are promoting and not the person.   So even if people know you are behind the fan page, fans cannot access your personal profile unless you they are an accepted friends of yours, thus protecting your privacy.

You can measure ROI by looking at the Facebook Insight. This provides details about how many active users you have and how they interact with the page.

It is easy for fans to interact by sharing articles, pictures and videos that the fan page post.  They can also post their experiences when they volunteer and/or give to the cause.

The drawback is that you must have a personal profile to create a Fan page which means you must be sure to take advantage of the privacy settings to make sure your boss doesn’t check your Facebook profile and see pictures that are meant for your friends.

Both are powerful tools to spread your message but I suggest you create a fan page separate from your personal profile.  This way you can have a fan page (with its own url)  for your non-profit and/or business while keeping a personal presence.  Do these graphics give you a better picture of the difference between Personal Profiles and Fan Pages?

What do you care about?

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Do you have children?


Tired of only partying and need something more?

Love partying and you want others to love it too?

Care about helping others?

Have a history of disappointment and don’t care about anything?

Contrary to most cynics and skeptic out there, I am a believer that people do care about something.  Heck, people wouldn’t be cynics if they didn’t care.    The issue is that most folks fail to recognize that the change they wish to see must start with themselves (can you think of a famous quote expressing this very point?).   Cynics choose to believe that it is pointless, people wont change.   Also, those folks say they are just realist, while I feel that those who claim this are pessimists in denial.


Mobile and Online Tools Launch Paterson Local to WNBA All Star Game

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Congratulations to Essence Carson, a Paterson, NJ native who thanks to great friends and supporter, was launched to the WNBA All Star Game as a Starter representing the Eastern Conference.   I bring this up because I voted for her via text message sent by Councilman Benjie Wimberly’s Facebook profile page.  He used his Facebook page and text list to spread the word that we Paterson locals had to send a text in support of Essence Carson.   This surely motivated many others to follow his lead in pushing Essence Carson to even greater heights to her professional success. Not to mention all the people she connected with throughout her career.  However, I am fully aware that Essence Carson’s incredible talent is 95% responsible for this accomplishment.

I have to admit, I don’t watch the WNBA (actually I am not into professional basketball except attending an occasional game). However, seeing and supporting a local player get to the professional level is inspirational.  Not only for me, but for our young girls who may have dreams of reaching the top in their respect fields.  However, Essence Carson would not reach such a level of success without the support of her family and community that nurtured her talent.  As for reaching the 2011 WNBA All Star game, people sending texts “Carson” to 69622 really helped her reach the extra mile.

The overarching theme: social media and mobile tools made a difference in the community.  In this case,  Paterson, NJ has a daughter that is in the WNBA All Star Game!   Text messaging and posting updates in your established online community provided a shining star that local community leaders can point to when motivating our youth.  Good Stuff!

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