moda vivendi

I'm just talking to myself. We do that sometimes, me and myself.


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Social media needs to be social

This was originally posted over at theBrewRoom blog.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that social media is, in fact, social.  Every time that certain car commercial comes on (you know, with the rep reading tweets and their hashtags), someone in the room with me asks, “What’s a hashtag?”  It’s a link to all the tweets in the world with said hashtag.  Then the inevitable, “But…..why?”  So you can see what people are saying (and jump into the conversation, of course)!  We’re so focused on using the Internet to throw information out into the universe that we forget the best way to use it; no one wants to be talked at, they want to converse.  Social media, and the marketing that goes with it, is virtual word of mouth.  It’s a conversation.  There are peoplBill Lumberghe constantly talking with and engaging other people.  If you want your business to be successful, you need to engage as well.

Let’s say I work somewhere like “Office Space.”  I have 3-5 on any given day asking me to tweet something, usually a promotion.  Of course, they all think  their message is the most important one to disseminate (so it must be posted NOW).  Well, when you overload people with text and they aren’t getting anything meaningful out of it, guess what will happen to your message? It’ll get tuned out (or they’ll just unfollow you period).  Now, when Lumbergh comes back 5 minutes later to ask if anyone is talking about it, he’ll be let down because the answer is no.

Long story short: be social.  Show you care about the community that you’ve built:

  • Ask questions.
  • Answer questions.
  • Include comments when you retweet whenever possible.
  • If you need to promote services or events, do it in a way that’s natural and not pushy.
  • Mention people to get the conversation going if you have a piece of information that you think is of interest to them (just don’t be spammy; no one likes that).

And don’t forget to “listen” to the conversations.  It’s a two-way flow of information.  Don’t expect to get a response if you are not responding yourself.

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How to justify anything

I’ve recently found myself in the need for a budget. Now, I’ve done this before, but not on a grand scale. During that first budget experience, I learned a valuable lesson: I can justify anything. Are you ready for this ground-breaking piece of information?

It’s called… Cost. Per. Use.

I have a friend I met Sophomore year in school who operated with this as well and we found great success with this model. Here’s what you do: buy something.

Now note the cost. Divide by how many times you think you’ll use it. If you purchased shoes, divide by two (because you have two of them). Done!

Here’s a real-world example. I was shopping with my friend in college (this was our first shopping trips together; after that, I knew we’d always be friends) when20130605-201315.jpg I spotted these cute gray ballet flats at the Gap. I thought they were marked down, but as fate would have it, they were full-priced shoes set on a sale shelf and the salesperson wouldn’t give me the sale price–isn’t that illegal?–but I liked them so I bought them anyway. They were $40. I figured I’d wear them until the weather changed; in State College, I either had 6 days or 26 days until that happened. To begin the CPU model, I assumed I’d wear them at least 10 times before said change occurred. So we’re down to $4 per wear. If you want to go even further, divide that by 2 (because there’s two of them) and we have $2 per wear. I can tell you that I’ve worn these shoes way more than 10 times; I purchased them in 2009 and still wear them, as you can tell by the state of the soles. I’d say I recouped my investment.

It’s a very useful tool if you don’t need something but really, really like something. This is especially useful for good quality products (“I’ll have have this for years”) or a fun splurge (“I’ll just wear this 50 times and then it’ll be $1 per wear”).

One exception: nail polish. Let’s say a bottle of polish costs $5. You have 10 fingers, so you’re already at $.50 per use. If you paint your toes too, and repeat this twice, you’re justified. At this point, you’re at a negative cost per use, so why bother figuring it out in the first place. Just buy the polish and look pretty.

Your guilt has been expunged. You’re welcome.


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Things to remember when posting for your business

**Please note: this was first posted over on theBrewRoom blog.  You can check out the full post (and more) there!

Inspired by a list published on AdAge.com by Simon Dumenco, “9 Media Things That Should Be Immediately Regulated,” I hereby give you my list of 7 Things That Should Be Immediately Regulated When Posting For Your Small Business (or any sized business for that matter) on social media accounts.  Posting for your business can be tricky to navigate at first, but it gets easier with practice (and remembering these reminders).  Please note: there is no particular order because these are all important.  Well, except for No. 1.  That’s pretty important.

5. Henceforth, your posts shall only contain one punctuation character in a row.  I get that you’re excited, but use your words, not your exclamation points.  Exception: ellipses…

4. Henceforth, you shall not ramble.  The ratio of number of characters per post to percent of increased engagement varies between Ragan, Short Stack, and Linchpin SEO infographics, but they all will tell you that posts clocking in around 100-150 characters (3 lines of a Facebook update) see more interactions on Facebook.  Similarly, about 80-100 characters are ideal for a tweet.

3. Henceforth, you shall not post willy-nilly.  Everyone (yes, everyone) will tell you to make a schedule of posts and stick to it.  It’ll keep you organized, keep you on point, and ensure that you post essential messages without becoming overbearing (and annoying).

2. Henceforth, if you must automate posts, know who/what/where/when.  Don’t be the person tweeting your two-for-one BBQ Nite when something devastating (or joyful, but mostly devistating) happens.  Make sure you know what’s going where and when.  Try your best to make a quick change should you need to.

1. Henceforth, you shall be interested in others.  As John of YaJagoff will tell you, social media is losing the “social” aspect.  He’ll also tell you that you can get more people interested in you by showing interest in them.  Think about the last time you were faced to endure time with a “me” person.  It’s a turn-off, yeah?  Don’t be that person online.


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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Lately it seems that there is an epidemic sweeping the nation.  It’s a terrible disease.  It affects the brain, specifically, the part of the brain that registers common decency.  Symptoms include: lack of tact, lack of caring about fellow human beings, and saying uncouth things in public.  I don’t want to see this disease claim another victim, so I’m taking a stand.  From this day forward, I will champion the cause.  Bring back respect!

It just seems like people are fending for themselves* more often than not, blatantly throwing consideration for others to the wind.  It appears to prevail greatest amongst my generation.  The biggest pet peeve about this disease that I have is lack of respect for others’ time.  While I occasionally will have a relapse, I typically like to tell people that I will be at X place at Y hour.  Others don’t feel the need to return the favor.  I end up waiting for people and when I finally hear from them as per what they plan on doing, they throw in an “Oh, by the way, will you also do this other favor for me, even though I didn’t tell you about it beforehand and you may have other things to do today that don’t include me and you’re already doing me a big favor to begin with.”

*Being self-centered

Another way this disease rears its ugly head is by not caring about other people’s feelings.  You can tell you’re affected if you say things like, “I don’t have to pitch in, I’m better than this.”  Wrong!  For example, at work we are all expected to pitch in and ensure that certain things are kept up with during the day.  I’m sure your company expects this as well.  Is it fair for a few people to always make sure that these things are taken care of?  It is not.

There are ways we can reverse the disease though!  If you feel yourself slipping back and saying, “I don’t care about anyone else,” or, “It’s not my problem,” or, “This isn’t my responsibility,” take a second and think if you can help to make someone’s day easier in any way.  I say, have some respect and pitch in!  Pick something up off the floor instead of walking by it (even if you didn’t drop it in the first place), offer to carry a box instead of watching someone else struggle (even if you didn’t order 50 cases of toner), hold open the door for a mother loaded down with kids (even if you don’t like children and believe it was her fault for having so many).

If we work together, maybe we can put an end to this epidemic.  With just 5 minutes a day, you can help a starving child in Africa–oops, wrong PSA.  But really, the lack of respect that some people have for their fellow human beings makes me sad.  No one deserves to be treated like dirt.  No one deserves to play second-fiddle.  A little compassion goes a long way.  That’s all I’m asking for; 5 minutes of your time to think about someone other than yourself.


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The subtext of that text

So much communication occurs through text-based technology.  Text messages, emails, blogs..and there’s way too much subtext within this medium that’s supposed to be “simpler.”

For example, punctuation.  I rarely use punctuation in a text, unless it’s to a parent/relative, or someone in a position of authority.  I’m most careful to insert proper periods and and commas when communicating with my ex-English-teacher aunt.  Just because she’s retired from teaching does not mean she’s retired from editing for proper usage.  There is one exception to my I-don’t-use-periods-unless-I’m-texting-my-family rule, though… and it connotes that I’m not happy.

Let me demonstrate: “Yeah, whatever” typically says, “Sure, that’s cool,” or “I don’t have a particular preference,” especially when used in conjunction with a smiley face and/or something to convey laughter.  However, “Yeah, whatever.” means “Fine, have it your way. You suck.”

There’s also a difference between using “Okay,” and “Sure.”  Okay says…well, it says “okay.”  It’s hard to convey anything other than agreement.  “Sure,” on the other hand could say “okay” or it could say “I don’t really want to, but alright I’ll go along with you,” particularly when used with a period.  “Sure thing,” means “Yep, that’s totally cool.”  Don’t get me started on “fine.”  Whole new game when that comes in.

Of course, there are exceptions.  Anytime you use a smiley and/or something to convey laughter, as in the “yeah, whatever” situation, typically negates any meanness.  If you’re not sure how the person you’re talking to will respond to your choice of words, three little letters will save you a lot of grief: lol.  That’s all you have to put at the end of “Sure” to transform it from, “You’re so self-involved you must always have things your way,” to, “Okay, I’m perfectly accepting of that.”

Don’t you wish you just picked up the phone and called someone instead?

And Dad, if you’re reading this, you’re one of the people with whom I usually use proper punctuation, so disregard all of this information.


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Let me tell you about yourself

Lately, people have been really good at trying my patience.  I’m a Scorpio, (or maybe I just take after my mother..either way) I don’t have much patience to begin with.  Don’t make me bust out a ghett0 finger-wave and a “Let me tell you about yourself.”

I was first exposed to this useful phrase courtesy of my father’s significant other.  I think she was talking about someone she works with, but this sentence can be applied to many situations:

  • The waitress who acts like she’s doing you a favor by bringing you another lemon wedge–well there goes your tip
  • The annoying roommate–stop trying to defend yourself and just say “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again”
  • The person in class who’s talking over the professor–oh, pardon me, are we interrupting your time? I’m paying to be here and learn about Milton, not your date last night

It sounds mean, but really, some people need to be told about themselves.  They just don’t realize that they’re acting like a toddler.  Some people need others to act as a mirror and reflect themselves back to them.

So let me tell you about yourself:

You’re loud, you’re obnoxious, you don’t realize when you go too far and offend people with your “jokes,” you can’t take people making jokes to you, you use people, you’re really not that pretty, you’re not fooling anybody, you should stop defending yourself when you know you’re wrong, you might want to try acting your age, you’re not the only person in the universe, you’re being a hypocrite, you might want to try considering other people for once…

I’m sure you thought of a few people when you read that, right?  That’s just an example of a “LMTYAY” rant.  It can go on and on, preferably with a sarcastic and/or mocking tone, specific examples about what they do or what they’re like, and some ghetto-inspiried head-bobs and finger-waves, just to get into the right frame of mind.

Now, don’t you feel better?


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Fortune cookie school of psychology

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to fortune cookie fortunes recently (don’t ask why, I couldn’t tell ya.)  I have three paper clipped in the front of my planner from Lord knows when and are so tattered that I can barely read them anymore:

  • You are a practical person with your feet on the ground.
  • Struggle as hard as you can for whatever you believe in.
  • You have at your command the wisdom of the ages.

The first describes me to a T, thus I needed to keep it because it was just so appropriate that it was my fortune.  The second is just plain good advice and doesn’t need much thought to appreciate it.

The third came from a dinner at Green Bowl, a local stir fry restaurant, when I was having dinner with my mom when she visited me one weekend two years ago.  I thought it was funny at the time, as I’m always poking fun at my mom for her age (because I am a caring daughter like that.)  I mainly kept it to remind me of that weekend.  But it has a nice message.  There are always people who have been in our positions before and we can turn to them when we need guidance and insight, even if it is an old Katharine Hepburn movie or a Sex and the City episode.  You are not alone.

I would like to add these to the lexicon:

  • Don’t look like a moron when you go outside; invest in a mirror and use it.
  • Read a book.
  • People appreciate those who have common decency and a firm grasp of social norms.
  • Your ex can and will pop up when you least expect it; beat them to the punch and always expect it.
  • You gotta fight for your right to party.

Okay, so I stole that last one.  It isn’t as bad as the one that my (female) friend got that said, “You and your wife will be very happy together.”  We were having dinner with my father when that fortune came up.