Cool Foursquare Personal Story

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My older brother and my two cousins, one of which lives in Spain and have not seen for 10 years!

This is a small but very profound story about how we were able to track down my cousin who was in NY visiting from Spain thanks to Foursquare.

My cousin Chrissy was in NY for the week with her sister Tophina. I have not seen her for over a decade and she was one of my favorite cousins (at least after I hit adolescences and stopped hating her as I did as a child).   Naturally I took Sunday to spend the day in NY with my family.  We were playing by ear when and where we would meet.  I did not have Chrissy’s temporary number but my brother had Tophina’s number.  Unfortunately, my brother David could not get in touch with Tophina as she did not have reception.   So I decided to look on foursquare and low and behold Chrissy checked in at the Metropolitan Museum in NY.

So my family and I road down to the Met and hung out, witnessing the thousands of people marching in protest of the Stop and Frisks laws of NYC.   We stayed an hour until Tophina called us and told us to meet them at the Boathouse of Central Park.   We spent a wonderful afternoon with them enjoying beautiful weather, relaxed ambiance and of course great drinks with family.   If it was not for foursquare, it would have been much more difficult to get in touch and likely my patience would have sent me back home without seeing my beautiful cousins or witness a powerful movement unfold.

Long story short, being online and being present really helps people connect with you in more profound ways and for very promising results and experiences.   High five Foursquare!

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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

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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?

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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