Embracing a Smart Phone: Removing My Head From The Sand

I'm finally stepped out of the dark ages.... I changed over to an iphone today. I've been waffling on this decision to move from a "dumb" phone to a "smart" phone for a while now.

It's funny, I don't mind change when it comes to traveling.

I love changing from country to country seeing new sights and experiencing new places. But I've never been a fan of technology. I don't pick it up quickly so I've avoided as much change as possible when it comes to the electronic kind. When I traveled around the world I never upgraded past my manual Pentax K1000. I didn't want to take the time to learn a new camera. I've been the same way when it comes to phones.

Forever and a day I've been an advocate of a phone being, just a phone. I've always said if you want to email me email me, don't text me. In fact I hated texting so much I had it turned off on my phone. And using your phone to take pictures? I never understood why people wanted a camera on their phone. If I want to take a picture I've got my Pentax. To me a phone should be to talk on.

But as technology improves I grudgingly pull my head out of the sand and try to adapt. Just last year I bought a Nikon D60, and started to learn how to use a digital camera. Now that I've started Blue Gypsy, Inc. I know it's time to make another technological leap. Soooo here I am...composing this entire blog on my iphone!

Nah...just kidding. Still on the computer for this. But seriously any suggestions on how to make the most of my iphone are greatly appreciated. Do you have favorite apps I should check out?

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Facebook Friend or Spammer?

I've never used the unfriend button until the other day. I didn't get into a mortal fight with a friend, I didn't take my toys and go home...no, I was getting too much spam!

That's right spam on facebook in the form of fan page suggestions and events. But they weren't just any fanpage and events they were "How to make millions of dollars...blah blah blah." These are the websites and the emails that I delete! Why do I want it in my social media stream?

First off I'm on facebook to socialize. I'm not there to sell stuff, and I'm not there to buy stuff. I'm not there to investigate snake oil and miracle pills.

There was a point where I was very very protective of my facebook account. It was only for people I actually, physically knew in person and reality. My facebook friends were made up of historical friendships from high school and college, travel relationships with people I'd met out on the travel road through adventure or work, and kids (now adults) who I taught on sailboats.

And then as my circle began to grow locally in Virginia Beach with real estate agents and those in related businesses, social media and marketing professionals, and local friends, I began to loosen up my tight personal policy on friend requests. But still I get a little rankled when a total stranger requests my friendship without any explanation. I really do wish there was a way to enforce the idea of including a personal message when requesting a stranger's friendship on facebook. Add to that they have a tight facebook security policy so when I check who they are I can't tell a thing. Yet they are using facebook as a networking tool? #fail

Simply put, tell me why you want to be my friend! If it's for networking great! I network.

But you are very misguided if your idea of networking is to never have a personal interaction with me and use me as one more faceless number to push out your fan pages and events. That's called SPAM!

It's like walking up to someone in public and instead of introducing yourself, you simply give them flyers on the street. You have no relationship with them, no trust built with them so why should they even look at your flyer? And if it's full of big words like "Make Millions!" "Do YOU need MORE MONEY?"....well if it looks like a get rich quick scheme, and it smells like a get rich quick scheme...you do the math. And by the way, all capital letters is YELLING AT ME ON THE INTERNET!

If you took the time to know who I am you'd know the things that would interest me and thus the events I would attend and the pages I would fan, and the things that I'm not interested in.

To be honest, if you pay attention at all to what you are doing, and you are not just mechanically moving through the use of social media, you'd see you are inviting me to the same thing every day and I am declining. That should be your key indicator to STOP!

Okay so perhaps this was a bit of a rant...but tell me, am I alone in this feeling? How do you feel when someone just friend's you to send you junk?

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Do Years Always Equal Experience?

Recently I read a tweet, "Wait, ur biz is paying 2 learn from someone w/ less than 2 years of experience. Isn't that called an intern, at best an associate?"

Interesting point, however experience comes in all kinds of forms. Life experience, people experience, job experience, and many skills cross over from industry to industry.

So I guess it would depend on all the experience that a person has compiled over years of life, and what exactly you are talking about. I mean if you are talking about a surgeon then, YES I certainly care that they have less than 2 years of job experience! When I chose a doctor to do my Lasik surgery back in 1999 the surgery was so new and there were a lot of people who were having problems with less experienced doctors. I ended up getting the guy who helped pioneer the technique in Canada and had done thousands and thousands of these procedures already. People who had problems with surgery from others came to him to fix them.

But my guess is this tweet wasn't about surgeons, given the source it most likely has something to do with social media and marketing. And fair enough, some people sign up for a facebook account, a twitter account, start a blog and then call themselves an expert, a guru, or any number of superlative words. They think the word should allow them to charge gobs of money to set up social media accounts. But there are others out there that really have taken to social media like a fish to water.

I was teaching scuba diving within a year of learning how to do it myself. My specialty was dealing with frightened newbie divers because I was a scared diver when I first started. I knew what it felt like to not be comfortable breathing underwater. Because I knew what they were experiencing, I could connect with people immediately. It was easy to identify with their problem and help them work themselves through the fear toward the enjoyment of diving.

I think there are a lot of people who have dived right into the social media ocean and have found their comfort zone. They have also found the ability to take others from uncertainty and fear to making Social Media work for their businesses. Does this mean they shouldn't get paid for helping someone develop a plan of their own? Some of us are natural teachers; once we learn something we can make it easy for others. This doesn't necessarily take years, it takes understanding.

If there's a need for a service and you have the knowledge to provide that service why should it matter how long it took you to learn it? And with something like social media it changes on a daily basis. If you have the ability to stay on top of these changes and fine tune a plan, there is a call for that kind of assistance. I look at it this way, if it is going to take hours of my time to figure it out and you know it like the back of your hand, you may be an option to do some work for me. And in some cases implementation. Choosing someone to help create or implement a plan in social media depends on trust and confidence in an individual's abilities and not necessarily how long they've been doing it.

I think a lot of different life experiences can give someone the experience to teach and consult. What would be your criteria for hiring a Social Media consultant?

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Gone Viral: I dont care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia!!!

Have you seen the huge influx of weird fan pages popping up? People come up with the most bizarre combination of political views, vague references, passive aggressive behavior, and goofy ideas to create a fan page and see if other people will fan them.

One of the things that I love about facebook is what a lot of people hate. I like to see the fan pages and groups people join because to be honest, I never go looking for this stuff, but often things my friends are interested in are similar to the things that interest me. So when I saw two old high school friends fan I don't care about your farm, or your fish, or your park or your mafia!!! I had to check this out!

I'm one of those people that hates all the quizzes and games on fb, I'm there to socialize but not burn that much time on fb. I don't have time to kill playing Mafia or Farmville and before I blocked all the apps I couldn't stand them showing up in my facebook feed.

I dont care about your farm, or your fish, or your park or your mafia!!!

When I clicked the link I saw that there were over 2 million fans of this thing and I got some laughs over some of the things posted on the wall. It was a rich interaction of people bitching about other people playing games on facebook. It was somehow ironic. People who didn't want to spend time playing the games, but didn't mind burning time complaining about them.

Still I felt compelled to join, just to show my solidarity. After all I am one of those people. I get a chuckle at the viral nature of some of these fan pages. Over the next few days after I joined, I slowly saw more and more of my friends joining. Then today I saw a status update from the site itself.

HAHAHHAHA i havent cheked this group in months last i checked it was 200

this guy, out of frustration probably, because he was sick of seeing junk in his feed created this group and then forgot about it. Came back and everyone was having a conversation of their own, they didn't even need him facilitating the interaction. Just goes to show that when people are brought together by a common cause, idea, interest or annoyance they will talk about it whether you're there to mediate or not.

What are people talking about on your fan page? How are you going to engage them and how are you going to keep them?

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Passion: For Wordpress, Websites, and Water Treatment

I love enthusiasm! I'm actually pretty excited because I've caught some amazing energy from Valerie Cudnik, the owner of Computer Design Graphics.

I've been waffling on my website for Blue Gypsy, Inc, and Valerie is propelling me forward toward getting it up and running. I know I need to get cracking because www.bluegypsyinc.com is my online office, but I've been in a quandary about the idea of paying lots of money to have someone design a website. Since I really wasn't sure what I wanted, how could I pick a designer? What if I didn't like what they created...and I'd already committed to spending all that money?

I had the same dilemma recently with my logo and I turned to a crowdsourcing website, logomyway.com. There I was lucky enough to connect up with Kristen Cherry of Cherry Tree Designs. Kristen got inside my head and designed the perfect logo for me! But what was I going to do for the website? People keep telling me, "just design it on Wordpress, they have tons of plugins and themes to work not just as a blogging platform, but as a website too." But I'm not a designer and my eyes start to glaze over when I'm trying to understand how to put it all together and it takes me hours.

Timing is everything. Just as I was running the contest for my logo, Social Media Club Virginia Beach hosted an event on Wordpress plugins. And Valerie was a speaker! When we broke out into smaller groups she began demystifying the process of using Wordpress as a website platform. I could tell from her enthusiasm for Wordpress that I'd found the right person to help me out of my website woes.

I actually learned long ago how important it is to find people with passion for their work. These are the people who are the best resources along a path of learning, doing and growing both your business and your self. At the time I was working for an environmental education sailboat in Bivalve New Jersey, the A.J. Meerwald when I had an "ah-ha" moment about how important it is to have excitement for what you do.

As part of our training about the watershed we went to visit a water treatment plant. I was so amazed by how much enthusiasm the water treatment manager had about the smelly job of recycling water. His passion for the subject made me realize there are people in the world that just go through the motions (I certainly never could have muster the passion for water treatment) and then there are people who truly enjoy what they do and carry an aura of positive energy with them that encompasses every aspect of their being. By the time we left the plant I was like, "Wow water treatment rocks!"

When given the choice, I'd pick working with someone like that any day. And that's the kind of energy Valerie brings to the table, not only is she going to help me with my website, but she's teaching me a few things as well.

I don't feel glazed over about my website anymore. I'm ready to dive into Wordpress and get my feet wet.

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And The Winner Is....Great Design and Attentive Customer Service

And the winner is......

After 5 days and over 200 submissions from all over the world, I chose my logo. By running a contest through a crowdsourcing website called logomyway.com I found that it wasn't only the design that won the race.

It was also customer service. Something I wasn't expecting at all when I decided to hold a contest to create my Blue Gypsy, Inc. logo.

Kristen, the designer of my logo, not only submitting an idea, but also exhibiting key elements that are part of the process of an Online Sales Consultant.

1) She asked questions.
2) She made adjustments and really figured out what I needed, even when I wasn't completely sure what that was.
3) She continually followed up to make sure I was still happy.
4) She was not pushy, but she was confident that she could meet my design needs.
5) And she asked for the close. She didn't assume I was going to pick her, she asked for confirmation.

When it came down to it, not only did she capture the essence of something unique and different but she gave me the kind of service I strive to give in my business. It was pretty apparent that her values were right in line with mine, and thus it was a natural choice to do business with her.

She kept working to get it right, and she reminded me of...well...ME!

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