Blog-worthy Boothies

I enjoy creative booth giveaways. The run-of-the-mill tchotchke is typically forgettable, but sometimes, you run into something outstanding – something worthy of a blog post.

This week, at two different conferences, I picked up three. Here they are:

1. The Epocrates leather-covered notebook is simply delightful. I’d been looking for something in which I could more systematically order my written thoughts (yes, though I do now use Evernote on-line, I’m still a bit old-fashioned) – and this high-quality personal notebook is gorgeous. You don’t have to go high-tech to achieve an “enduring” remembrance – this paper-based goodie won’t get thrown away anytime soon.

2. Also from Epocrates, the Lego-ish USB memory stick. You’ve picked up three dozen memory sticks in the last few years, right? But this is just plain cute. Too cute not to share. Yes, I popped the doctor’s head off so you can see that it’s a memory stick…

3. Eagle Productivity had these pens that didn’t look all that different – until I pulled out the rolled-up sell sheet, which unrolls and retracts from the barrel. Brilliant. I won’t use it for writing. I’ll just show it off. And that’s kinda the point, isn’t it?

I have a hundred other boothies banging around that I’ll never show you. They’re not blog-worthy. But these are. It’s worth the investment to be outstanding, to be remarkable.

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Doubt the Power of Twitter?

Just scroll down and read up. See, in real-time (this is only a few minutes ago), what Twitter and a caring network can do…

The accident happened in central Connecticut – comfort and coordination began arriving in moments from Oman, Canada, and the United States.

Thanks, everyone, for pitching in (literally, from around the world!) to help Leigh – esp. Dr Jonathan, who took the lead coordinating local rescue and giving Leigh advice. It doesn’t get any more wonderful than this.

UPDATE: Here is Leigh Fazzina’s post describing the entire event.

UPDATE 2: A local TV report, and the story on MSNBC website.

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When Your Avatar goes over to the Dark Side

By and large, Twitter works. Except when it doesn’t.

So, I wanted to change my avatar yesterday. That usually hasn’t been any kind of problem in the past. But now, Twitter refuses to upload a new image. It has been kidnapped by the dark side of the Force. Instead, I have the spammer-looking bird with a yellow background (and yellow is NOT my color!)

Here’s what it looks like when I try to upload a new Profile image:

Note that the usual little links (Edit this image, Delete this image) have now gone missing. Well, not to worry – I just browse, select an image file (yes, it conforms to the standards, and yes, I’ve tried multiple different ones including my previous one – and, yes, I’ve tried different browsers and even different computers), and here’s what happens:

I select the file path, click “Save” at the bottom, the message comes up that the Settings have been saved – but instead of the new avatar image, there is a perpetually rotating “I’m still looking for something” series of bars, roughly tracing the circular shape of the Death Star.

No new avatar. Yellow bird. And some faint but threatening voice in the background muttering something about my “destiny.”

This leaves me with only one very important question. WHY?

Anyone have a clue?

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Don’t be That “Recycling” Guy (or Gal)

<Rant starts>

I saw a whole boatload of them this morning. Maybe that was a “sign” that it was time to write this post….!

If you’re on Twitter just or primarily to regurgitate other peoples links and content – including semi-inspirational quotes – then, to be perfectly blunt, you’re adding a lot of noise but little value.

Re-tweeting good content or the occasional worthwhile bromide to our audience(s) is a normal and valued part of the Twittersphere. Intermingled with original thought and content, it’s signal and not noise (well, usually!) But if you’re seeking to build up an audience just by being a recycler – what are you contributing?

I don’t need to follow recyclers (and I don’t). I want to know who YOU are, what YOU’RE thinking – there’s gotta be some gold in them thar hills, right? So if you’re on Twitter, why not bring out your gold? Don’t just toss around other peoples’ coins.

It takes no talent to be a recycler. Be a producer instead!

</Rant ends – unless you want to add your own in the comments!>

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Do You Have a Mission Statement?

I think I finally figured out mine:

My mission is to be a Connection Agent.

I am connecting people and businesses with their true identity and message; with creative opportunities to grow and succeed; and with other people and resources to bring about increasing success.

I want to leave behind a network of people who are richer because of these connections, and who will follow that example by enriching others.

As I look over the entire landscape of my heart and my activities, I think that kinda sums it up.

What about you? Can you arrive at yours a whole lot earlier in life than I’ve been able to?

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How to Eliminate 68% of Useless Twitter Traffic in One Blog Post

Look – we all know there’s way too much repetitive noise drowning out the useful signal on Twitter.

Let’s slice it in half (+18% bonus!) with one fell swoop:

1. Social media is changing the world! >It sure is.

2. People want to be part of the conversation! >Yes, they do indeed.

3. It’s all about transparency and authenticity! >Good. Let’s do that.

4. Traditional (marketers/media people/grandmas/teens) don’t get it. >OK. So we have work to do.

5. Bacon, chocolate, and coffee are good. Karaoke is fun. Air travel, however, rots. >Check.

6. (fill-in-the-blank) is dead. >Well, if it’s not yet, it will be.

7. Guy Kawasaki is not a virtuous user of Twitter. Yes, he is. >OK, opinions will differ.

8. RT RT RT RT RT RT The Gulf of Mexico is on fire!! >Yes, we know. That news is a few RT cycles old now.

9. My Twitter horoscope today says… >No-one cares.

10. Get more blog traffic with useless Top 10 lists peppered with dubious statistics and lying linkbait >Thanks for that.

See – that was easy! Next time you’re tempted to tweet one of the above, simply link to this post instead and save everybody the trouble. I’ve even made it easy for you (just cut/paste into Twitter): I’m cutting down useless Twitter traffic with http://bit.ly/Eliminate68

;>} What would you add to get us to 73%??

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This Ain’t That

“Ladder-climber” is not the same as “Leader.”

> One does what he/she does for self.

> The other has higher purposes in mind.

And it’s really difficult to fake being a genuine leader…you’ll keep leaving moldy breakcrumbs behind.

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12 Reasons Why You Clicked on This Link

1. It was a slightly intriguing, but ultimately meaningless title, and the world needs more of that.

2. This could very well have been the next big internet meme – who wants to miss out on that?

3. 11 reasons are insufficient, and 13 is unlucky. But twelve is good.

4. You thought it just might increase your FCIQ (Fast Company Influence Quotient).

5. You’ve been Rick-rolled 736 times, and figured you could move past Gloria Smyznykowski by getting to 737.

6. Somebody you trusted forwarded it to you. So it must be good.

7. It was there. In a tweet. Begging to be clicked. And you gave in.

8. (this reason intentionally left blank)

9. You’d click on ANY link that you think might get you a $15.5M dollar inheritance from Kenya. Alas – you’ll have to buy a lottery ticket.

10. It was on the internet, so it must be true.

11. You are either for or against global warming, and clicking seemed like a good idea for some reason.

12. You don’t take yourself too seriously.

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The Best Ever

It’s set back a ways in a converted little house, half-hidden in the artsy little town of Lenox, MA (in the Berkshires).

We decided to take the “road less traveled” for a recent mini-vacation in VT and upstate NY, and Lenox happened to be bisected by Route 7, a non-interstate which winds its way up from Connecticut all the way to Burlington VT, where we planned to visit Amy Fitch and her family before heading over to Lake Placid, NY.

Lenox also happened to be the stomping ground of Steve Haase, with whom I had come in contact on-line through the just-launched Influencer Project.  It seemed like a great stopping point for some coffee, and a face-to-face meeting with Steve, who was quite amenable to the idea.

Consulting my handy iPhone on the way up, I noticed that THE coffee shop in Lenox seemed to be Lenox Coffee, which had rave reviews on Yelp. Steve confirmed via e-mail that it was the prime meeting spot, so as we threaded our way through town, we spotted the unimposing little house of this non-chain, one-of-a-kind caffeine destination.

I ordered an Americano for myself and one for Sandy, my wife, who has recently become a fan of Americanos at Starbucks through my at-times benign influence. I should tell you that Sandy is not particularly ebullient when it comes to describing purchased goods. Praise is not easily given – it is earned.

Yet, SIX (6) times over the next several days, I heard her repeat that “that was the best Americano I have ever had!” And the 7th time, it was the best in the world (still waiting for the expansion into galactic superiority). I even began to feel a bit jealous – I mean, when is the last time she’d said, “you’re the best husband I’ve ever had!” multiple times in one week? But I digress…

Whatever the Lenox Coffee people did with their fresh-ground beans and their method of preparation, it got my normally-reserved wife talking. Raving, actually. In fact, it has now ascended to a blog-worthy experience.

It’s not enough to be good. You want to be remarkable. You want to make people like Sandy (and others who were on Yelp) rave about your stuff. It’s hard to fail when you’re “the best ever”!

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Saying Good-bye to a Newspaper

For years, I faithfully subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. I liked the business focus. The in-depth reporting. The regular off-the-beaten-track feature stories.

I even liked the launch of the Personal Journal section a couple years back, which had more lifestyle reportage (including wine reviews, which I always enjoyed).

But this week marks the end of my customer journey with the WSJ. And it has nothing to do with the paper vs. digital transition.

Reason #1: The paper has changed. Too much. It’s been, for lack of a better term, “Murdoch-ized.” The last straw was the NY section, with all kinds of style and fashion garbage. I found that when the WSJ was in my hands, it no longer felt like a “serious” news vehicle the way it once did. The fluff invasion got to me.

Reason #2: They never could crack the nut of getting reliable, on-time delivery to my door. Whoever was in charge of morning delivery by car was so unreliable (multiple reports of poor service made no difference) that I finally insisted on getting the paper by U.S. Mail. This meant getting the paper in late afternoon – an OK compromise – but then, starting a couple months ago, suddenly daily issues began not showing up at all, or coming one or two days late. Making contact via Twitter, phone, and e-mail actually yielded personal interactions, but the bottom line is: the problem wasn’t fixed.

Delivering something on-time and on-target 70-80% of the time just doesn’t cut it.

And so, good-bye to an old friend. I still respect you. I appreciate the memories. And I”ll stay in touch on-line.

But you didn’t deliver.

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The Influencer Project

<UPDATE>

If you missed this event, you can download the full mp3 file and the .pdf transcript of all the 60-second clips right here.

Here is what I had to say in my minute of fame:

My main secret for building influence online is to identify gifted up-and-comers that are just getting into social media, but clearly have the right stuff, have good experience, have drive, have a message—but really need help getting launched on platforms like Twitter or in blogging. By coming alongside them and becoming an advocate, and taking their material and exposing it to a broader audience and connecting them to key people, you end up creating for yourself an advocate for life.

This is someone who will absolutely feel a debt of gratitude to you, and will be your biggest fan and supporter. And one of the keys for digital influence is not having the biggest number of connections; it’s really having the most rabid advocates. And when people feel a sense that you are a helpful, very unselfish helper in their growth then they will absolutely help you in your growth.

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What happens when you get 60 of the web’s leading thinkers each sharing how you can increase your digital influence – all in 60 minutes?

Find out on Tuesday, July 6th at 6 pm ET. Here’s the scoop: The Influencer Project.

(Disclosure – yes, I somehow got included in the 60. Clerical error, I believe….!)

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