Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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Being inspired by writing, and why readers are so important

dear readerI am an avid reader. For work and for keeping up with all things in the social media world, I subscribe to a number of blogs through Feedly. If you don’t know Feedly, I recommend you check it out. I came across it when Google announced they were doing away with Reader. I switched and never looked back. Bye-bye Google! (I love when I can say that, by the way.) It’s a great way to organize all the blogs you love and get a quick glance of what you’ve missed from the headlines. But I digress.

Now that I’m back into my normal routine (and yes, I always use that term loosely!) I try to spend at least some time during the business day to try to keep up with what’s going on. What has LinkedIn changed lately? (By the way, if you missed the news that we will soon be able to post long form content on that network, read this post from Social Mouths). What are the best tools in blogging? I love to hit up my friend in social networks, Lisa Buben (@lisapatb) and her Inspire To Thrive blog, because she always has some great tips and tricks for readers. So by day, I go through quite a few of my favorite bloggers, which usually leads to quite a few tweets too.

At night, I love to read novels. I always have a book going, and usually try to spend at least some time each night reading. I always thought I’d write a novel at some point in my life. Now that I’m approaching a milestone age, the chances of that actually happening are becoming slimmer by the year, but I have not given up just yet. I always have an idea brewing, and I feel like reading books in my favorite genres might help me become a better writer and inspire me to pursue that lofty (too lofty) goal of writing the next great American novel, or at least a suspense/mystery/thriller worthy of praise from Steven King or Dean Koontz or Gregg Hurwitz or John Grisham. (A girl can dream, right?)

What I really love about reading is that you get to transport yourself. You can be brought to other lands through a well-written book, or develop new skills or new ways of doing something from a blog post full of tips and tricks. The jackpot, to me, is when you are inspired by an author. When you are moved to do something, or pushed to an action because of something you’ve read. Like a piece of amazing sculpture or a fabulous painting that evokes an emotion or takes your breath away, beautiful writing can have the same effect. When you’re inspired, that’s a sign of a truly good writer.

Today I read a post by a gentleman named Danny Brown (@DannyBrown on Twitter). He is someone I’ve followed for years and with whom I’ve had a few interactions that are always appreciated. He has a wonderful way of writing, he has an incredible sense of humor, and he is also a truly giving person who strives to do for others. Today I read this post from Danny and I felt like he was speaking directly to me.

Have I made mistakes with my blog? Absolutely. Will I make more? Most likely, but that’s OK. I realized that my goal is not to build lots of readers, but to build a group of readers who are going to interact with me. Who will comment on my writing, whether it be the message in any given post, or whether it is my style of writing and what might make us all better writers and bloggers. Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t usually take criticism well, but constructive criticism is something that can make us all better, and strive to be better!

When you are kind enough to take the time to read my blog, I’d so appreciate a comment. I’d love to get conversations going. I know I’m not writing a thesis here that is meant to change the world, but I believe that we can all learn from each other, because we all have different experiences, tastes and points of view. And that is what makes the world of writing a beautiful place to be.

So with that, I throw it over to you, dear readers, to answer these questions… why do you read blogs, and what do you hope to do with your writing?


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Barely a whisper…

We all know the key to social media is engagement and interaction. The corporate speak doesn’t work in this realm, and it’s a great tool for customer service and building brand loyalty. But what happens when there is little to no engagement? Tweeting for five hospitals, I try to tweet interesting, helpful tidbits and post the same kinds of things on Facebook, but in a way that is unique to each hospital. I’ve found that the engagement level is varying greatly though from one hospital to another, and what works for one is clearly not working for another. 

I’ve always said I’m no social media expert, and at this point, I’m feeling like a newbie, trying to wade through the waters to find new things that will work in helping to increase engagement.  I also find myself facing another, more critical decision: if the engagement does not increase, then do we simply call it a day? There’s a part of me that knows that we need to be visible here, and connect with people through these social channels. Yet there’s another part of me that can’t help but feel that we, that I, have failed in this endeavor, and the leaders of the company, of course, want results. HELP!

The best part of social? The ability to connect with others who ARE experts. So I’m calling on my friends in the social media world for some advice and guidance. How do YOU increase your engagement levels when they seem to have reduced to barely a whisper?


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So I lied…so much for not talking about social media!

In my first post, I said I didn’t feel like I had enough expertise to focus on social media. But tonight’s post is about just that!

I’ve been working in the social media arena for over a year now, and I’ve seen the power it has… from building brand awareness to getting information out, to taking the pulse of a brand’s reputation. But the REAL power of social media is in the connections — meeting people and sharing a meaningful interaction. Coming from the PR and communications side of healthcare for many years, this is pretty new to me, and is really my favorite part. I just want to share something that happened today, because it’s the inspiration for this post.

Today, I posted a status update on the children’s hospital Facebook fan page, asking for fans to contact me if they would like to help us spread the word about the hospital through media or fundraising by telling their story. I was contacted very soon afterward by a woman who told me a heart-wrenching story about the extensive medical care her twins have received. I was so amazed at the conviction of this woman to go out of her way to help the hospital. She is dealing with some very serious medical issues with her kids, yet she is organizing a fundraiser for the hospital and is more than happy to tell the story of what the hospital has done to help her beautiful twins. She even shared a picture of these adorable kids with me.

Therein lies the TRUE power of social media: Meeting people you otherwise wouldn’t have and sharing a conversation, learning something new, and getting a good feeling from what you are doing, knowing that in a small way, it’s making a difference.