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Category Archives: Productivity

3 (Three) Small Ways to Make Big Change

After announcing my return following a blogging hiatus, I received an invitation from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio to write a blog article. The invitation was right on time and is just the push I needed to write about another topic passionate about — community support and social change.

In advance of Friday’s annual Keyholder fundraiser, the editor asked me to respond to this question: What can you do today, this month, or year to spark change in your community? Great question! There are so many ways — big and small — that people can do to make change happen today!

Of course we could talk about the big things like raising money, serving on a community board or hosting an event, but instead I want to focus on “small” or less obvious ways people can make change happen. Because small or large, contributions to change are just that. No matter how small your contribution — it matters.

Go In Your Community

Museums, churches, local governments, meetup groups, Internet communities and many others host all types of events to make their community a better place. Unfortunately, many events are not supported or embraced. But a small way to spark change in your community is to support your community by attending these events. If you want to spark change such as seeing more community events or more people attend — do your part and go! Support what happens in your community.

Get Opinionated

Frequently, people are neither interested in receiving feedback and too busy to give it. Whether you have a great experience or one that lacks luster — giving your opinion is one small way to spark change. In most instances organizers of community gardens, public art shows, welfare programs, fairs and festivals all want feedback. They really want to know what you enjoyed, if it met your expectations, what you would like to see in the future and  more. That’s how improvement happens. And although it can be time consuming to complete surveys and questionnaires consider how the simple act of giving your opinion can improve your community.

Go Local

If the change you want to spark is more local business then the best “small” thing you can do is to shop, eat, and buy local. That’s not to say there aren’t some great national or regional chain businesses, but change at the local economic level happens locally. And the commitment to make your daily, weekly, or occasional purchases at a local business sparks tremendous change for that business, its employees, your local economy and the national economy.

The idea of sparking change is awesome — and the options are limitless. Whether you have plans to spark big changes or you want to start with small ones, you have options.

What would you add to the list?

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is excited to welcome special guest Whoopi Goldberg to Nationwide Arena on Friday, June 29th for Keyholder 2012. The Women’s Fund’s annual Keyholder event is a preeminent gathering in the central Ohio area, attracting thousands of people to honor the women and girls who have made a significant impact in their lives. Tickets are on sale now for $50 each and all proceeds are used to provide grants that promise social change for women and girls. Call 614-225-9926to purchase tickets or stop by http://womensfundcentralohio.org for more information. Connect with The Women’s Fund on Facebook and Twitter (@WomensFundCO).

 

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Google Chrome Extension: ToDoist A Review

I’m always on the lookout for great Google Chrome web browser extensions and those that provide some additional functionality to make my life on the internet easier. I don’t have a magic way to find extensions other than using a search phrase like “Best Chrome Extensions,” and seeing what comes up.

During a recent search, I came up with ToDoist — which I’m convinced will make my life easier. I’ve only been experimenting with it, so I’ll give the highlights here of what I see so far with this to do list extension. To be sure, there are a bevy of list making extensions available, so don’t be afraid to search around to find the one that works best for what you want to accomplish.

Unlike most extensions I’ve used in the past, users of ToDoist first sign up for the service through their website. Once you complete that, then you install the extension, which will be added to your navigation bar with a check mark and “T” icon.

Once you sign up and get to the start screen, ToDoist provides you a great overview of the range of ways in which you can integrate the application into your existing online usage habits. Since I use an iGoogle dashboard, I appreciate you can incorporate your ongoing to do lists there, as well as the Netvibes dashboard. ToDoist is also available as an iphone and Android mobile application. There are keyboarding shortcuts and filtering options as well.

As a list making function, I appreciate the ability to first create projects and then assign tasks to the pertinent individual projects — which obviously makes ToDoist a bit more than a simple list making application — but rather a project management app.

Once you’ve created your project, and then assigned tasks to that project — this is were ToDoist gains some momentum in my book. What I really like is once you’ve set up your project, ToDoist has an “Add Link” function which allows users to easily bookmark pertinent web links. Additionally, you can assign that link as a task to a specific project. For me, this eliminates emailing links to myself with a reminder to return to them at a later time. However, if that’s something you would like to do — ToDoist gives you that option.

If you’re willing to upgrade to the preminum service, you can get access to reminders, notes and much more. I’m like many people in that I’ll make due with the free service. That’s not to say in the future, I won’t upgrade, but for the moment, I’m not sure what ToDoist has to offer is worth the cost of upgrading.

So, what do you think about ToDoist? Are you currently using it or another list making, project management application or add on with some good functionality? I invite you to share your thoughts on ToDoist or any other add on in the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in communication, Productivity

 

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You Produce Digital 411 User Contest is Open!

You Produce Digital 411 User Contest is Open!

Digital 411 is about what the awesome users want and that’s why I’m handing over an episode to you! Announcing theYou Produce Digital 411 User Contest! Win the opportunity to produce your own episode of Digital 411 — an internet radio show heard exclusively on TalktainmentRadio.com with Dr. Erika Pryor.

What do you have to do to win?

Submit your pitch in 140 characters or less on Twitter @Digital411, Facebook, or by email at: digital411@talktainmentradio.com. The last day to submit pitches is Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5pm.

Since, this show is all about the users, the winning pitch will be the result of an online election between 3 finalist pitches.

Online voting is Monday May 23, 2011 through Friday May 28, 2011.

our only guideline is to submit a pitch that is related to technology, tech gadgest, social media, or web tech.

When the users have spoken, the winner and I will produce YOUR Digital 411 episode including:

  • Guest selection
  • On-air script development
  • Pre-show research
  • Run on-air interviews live!

The You Produce Digital 411 User Contest episode is will air live Saturday, July 2, 2011 at the Talktainment Radio studios in Columbus.

So, get your 140 character pitch ready and tweet it to @Digital411 or email digital411@talktianmentradio.com. The deadline is coming quick! Anyone is eligable to enter this contest (this means you can enter even if you were a guest co-host on a previous episode). 

Good luck and thanks for being a loyal Digital 411 supporter!

Click here to access Digital 411 on iTunes! 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Digital 411, Productivity

 

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I’m Fired Up! (or Why getting fired helped me get out of my own way!)

I’m fired up! That’s what I’ve been saying to myself — and more importantly — out loud and to others! I’m fired up and pissed off about some things and that’s just the way it is for a while. Maybe you’ve noticed some of my recent blog articles and Digital 411 programs. If you havn’t buckle up and settle in for a few hundred words, it’s about to get interesting. As a disclaimer: This post is a rare personal one.


A few weeks ago I started my dream job. Working as an account executive at RMD Advertising. A great company with an excellent reputation for growing food brands. I worked hard there — about 6 days. I did like every new employee hoping to learn the ropes as quickly as possible. I stayed late, took work home, tested my knowledge as I accomplished tasks, and asked questions when I couldn’t figure things out on my own.

Then I heard the words no one ever wants to hear. “I gotta let you go” followed up with, “I just don’t think you’ll be happy here.” Now, I’m not sure what the second part means, but I’m fairly certain I know what the first part means. That’s right! RMD Advertising fired me after just 6 working days. Now, since I wasn’t snorting bumps in the bathroom or secretly defecating on my boss’s desk, I can’t figure out how a person gets fired in just over a week. But being the overachiever that I am, I had accomplished the task.

It’s likely I’ll never learn why I was prematurely let go and it’s not important to this story. So, what is important is how getting fired helped me get out of my own way. Here’s what I mean by that.

Considering I’ve never been a very good “employee,” and I’ve heard the stories about entrepreneurs getting fired from every job they ever had, I got to thinking. May be this major blow to my self esteem is the universe telling me that I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur. A role I have resisted for a while because entrepreneurs are rouge, outerliers and risk takers. I didn’t want to be those qualities because the aren’t typically used glowingly. However, we’re experiencing a huge paradigm shift. Now 15 year olds are successfully starting businesses, securing start up capital, and learn business basics in summer camp. But as an entrepreneur, you’re constantly working the hustle. Another thing I wanted to avoid.

Working the hustle is a big part of the life of an entrepreneur. You are consistently selling yourself, your business, networking and seemingly up against what seems to be great odds, only to find yourself strategizing as to how you’re going to overcome those challenges. That seems hard. What I failed to recognize (and the universe did see clearly) is that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. And in my case — having a full time job with little flexibility was getting in the way of doing what I’ve always done: work the hustle.

So what did getting fired do to help you get your own way to do?

That’s a convuluted way of saying: What are you doing now? Well I’ve resisted working full time as a consultant, but when I was approached to do a consulting project 3 days after I was fired and negotiated a contract  just 6 working days after being fired for not doing bumps in the bathroom I got the hint. It’s time for me to stop attempting to be traditional — which I’m not — and make my own way.

So, what am I so fired up about? Well, initially I was fired up about getting fired — of course. But now I’m fired up about being an entrepreneur, about finding obstacles as opportunities, and helping people with social media and digital PR. Also, I’m fired up about doing what you were born to do — and not what people have determined you should be doing. Since everyone has skills and talents, that means we should be using what comes naturally and easily to us to fully be your authentic self.

I say if you have to get fired in order to realize that, then so be it. Everything does in fact happen for a reason.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Productivity, self empowerment

 

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How Stella got her “Dashboard MoJo” back

I figured I’d get your attention with that catchy title. On the Feb. 19, 2011 episode of Digital 411, we discussed Better Blogging Practices with Jacob Stoops AKA Agent-SEO and Nate Riggs. Throughout that conversation, we discussed — among others things — what bloggers like Nate and Jacob do to continue coming back to the dashboard to blog, alongside keeping their “Dashboard Mojo” fresh.

I have to admit Nate and Jacob made some great points including the “Bloggers Play book,” using pen and paper, planning out posts and determining a comfortable writing spot. What we spent less time discussing that I want to touch on here is: How do you stay motivated? It’s likely this question resonated with me because I get asked it a lot.

How do you stay motivated to . . . You fill in the blank: blog, write, network, finish a dissertation, etc.

This is certainly not to brag or toot my own horn, but rather to say I’m a pretty motivated person and I don’t play much close to the vest. I take that as a great compliment. And typically when I receive these sorts of questions there are a couple different answers based on what’s in that blank; however, there are a few motivating factors that sustain throughout.

ESTABLISH GOALS

This is the No. 1 thing I do to stay motivated regardless of the task or ongoing task at hand. For me, it is truly the most important motivating factor I have in my life skills tool kit. When I have an end to look forward to, I can better get through the more difficult activities or tasks to accomplish. You don’t have to have a whole bunch of goals, just a few that you can really concentrate on and on which to stay focused.

WRITE FOR YOURSELF TOO

When it comes to blogging, nobody gets it right, right away. It takes some work and sometimes you really feel as though you are just “writing at” people. That’s a frustrating feeling because you’re not sure of the audience or if there even is an audience. When you get to the point where you’re having a hard time going back to the dashboard to crank out a post– to which both Nate and Jacob agree — write for yourself. Popular blogger and previous Digital 411 guest, Sarah Storer who blogs at The Naked Red Head calls this “Soul Puking” (which is poised to be the next best colloquialism akin to Paris Hilton‘s “that’s hot).

Her point with soul puking is that you get the stuff out that YOU need to get out and it doesn’t always matter if there’s an audience or not. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be intensely personal, but it does mean that sometimes it’s okay to write just because you want to write something and if it goes with no comments, retweets or shares, it was still worth it. At least that’s how I understood the term and I’m sure The Naked Red Head will correct me if I’m wrong =)

FIND THE PASSION

Jacob Stoops made the best point during the show discussing the importance of passion and I could not agree more. Passion is more than a like — it’s that inner thing that drives you to keep going because even when it feels like work — you are still truly enjoying yourself. That’s why subject is so important. It’s much more difficult to openly discuss, endorse, analyze or critique something that you really don’t care about — so, work with the topic or subject that you do. I’m going to leave it at that, before I go off.

BE PERFUNCTORY

Why when people see the word “perfunctory” do they have such an ugly look on their face? I don’t think it’s only because it sounds funny, but rather it’s an ugly idea. One way Wikipedia defines the word is “an apathetic individual with an absence or interest.” So that sounds pretty bad too. How about “going through the motions.”  Although, it’s something we don’t talk about as the noble “ways of a winner,” quite frankly every single day you can’t give 100 percent to everything and sometimes we have to go through the motions, to work our way back to what feels good about what we’re doing.

What’s worse than operating in a perfunctory manner, is quitting  (or taking a prolonged break) because it’s that much more difficult to kick things back into gear. So sometimes — very infrequent times — you have to just go through the motions to get to the …

MOJO SECRET SAUCE

So, this is the holy grail to motivation whether it’s getting back to writing for your blog, stamp collecting, designing your website or anything else. To me, your MoJo is the good stuff that you get with the right and special combination of everything listed above. At least it is for me. That’s when you are your best you.

So, what have a missed, or what do you do to get to your best you? Add it to the list in the comments section below.

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in blog, Digital 411, Productivity, self empowerment

 

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Pimp my Facebook Business Page

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The REVOLUTION

For the past six weeks I’ve been working with TalktainmentRadio.com to develop the hottest internet radio program this side of the Mississippi — affectionately known as Digital 411. The first episode airs live Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 at 10am. Visit TalktainmentRadio.com to review interesting programming options.

The PROBLEM

As I began developing what is sure to be the best “soft tech” radio show examining web technologies, gadgets, tech toys and more from the user’s perspective, I faced a dilemma. What social media platform should I use to build and maintain a digital presence for the show? There are so many options to consider: Blog, Website, Facebook page, Twitter, and YouTube to name a few.

In addition to determining which social media platforms would be the best fit, I weighed the time commitment I’d have to make for both set up and ongoing maintainance — my bigger concern. As you know, if you don’t actively maintain your presence on social media, then social media will do nothing for you.

The SOLUTION

After some careful thought, I decided on a Facebook business page, Twitter account, and Paper.li. Here’s the method behind my madness:

  • Facebook business pages have much more functionality than other types such as group or entertainment pages.
  • Twitter is a great tool to drive traffic to the Facebook page and highlight topics of interest likely covered on the show.
  • Paper.li is an outstanding companion to Twitter because it pulls all the links shared on Twitter from a specified account and organizes them into a “newspaper” format.
  • The added bonus of Paper.li is that you can select how often it updates, lists to pull links from, and auto-promote on Twitter — ultimately a great fresh content source.
  • Most importantly: Facebook applications make it possible to: Pimp my Facebook Business Page.

HOW TO PIMP A PAGE

With all that being said, how exactly do you “pimp” a Facebook business page. Below are a few applications that I found that can up the level of engagement and content on my page, without me doing all the work.

Keep in mind the applications update and change frequently, so consider doing a few searches on Mashable to find the most useful applications.

NOTES

This is an application that is already installed on your page — thanks Facebook. I strongly believe that most under use Notes; however, because I have decided that I don’t have time to maintain a blog, in addition to a Facebook page — notes can easily substitute for blog posts.

In terms of functionality, Notes offers the ability to add pictures and importantly — you can “tag” other users. This is great because you can “tag” your FB network when a new Note is added. Kind of a nice feature since you don’t have a traditional “subscription” option.

I’ve used Notes to explain Digital 411 in the form of a “Pocket Guide.” I plan to add a new Note for each Guest Co-Host called “Look Who’s Talking.” My hope is fans can get to know a little about them, and they get some additional exposure from coming on the show.

POLLS

This is by far my favorite engagement-centered application because it’s easy to use, people like to take polls, and you can promote on your personal profile page, as well as your business page. The Poll application page is useful because it show all your previous polls, how many people have voted, provides the option to send to friends, as well as download pollsters names.

SOCIAL RSS

Social RSS is a great application for keeping the content on your Facebook fan page fresh and relevant. With Social RSS users can select up to five blog feeds to feature on your business page by simply including the RSS feed.

What’s great about this application is you can select which blog posts appear on your wall, and the page has a tab for users to review feeds too. The added bonus: Your fans can easily subscribe to your featured blog feeds.

Be sure to keep in mind the publication schedule — if the blog has a rigorous publication schedule and you’ve selected that feed to go automatically to your wall — you may find your wall completely populated with blog posts. For this reason, I’ve elected to have my blog feeds go to a tab for review rather than the wall.

NEWSLETTER (Powered by NutshellMail)

The NutshellMail newsletter is an application developed by Constant Contact and have a lot of functionality — especially for Facebook users that aren’t on Facebook that often — and may lean toward email.

When users sign up for the Digital 411 “newsletter” they agree to receive the status updates for the page via email. Once they have signed up, users can make selections on the frequency of emails, what other pages they would like to include in their email, how many updates.

As an added bonus, users will also see inbox messages received on Facebook, friend request, event announcements and can add MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to the mix. Overall a great application with a number of benefits for users that take advantage.
What Facebook applications are you using on your business page? Are there others I should add to Digital 411 that are great for engagement and fresh content? Feel free to share them below in the comments section, I’d love to know.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2010 in blog, business, Productivity

 

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