Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Technology Detox for the Seriously Wired

Could it be that a day will come when destinations will actually promote their "no Wi-Fi" status? 

As so many hotels have scrambled not to lose their business clientele and as more and more workers are expected to be in touch during non-working hours, the American vacation has gone the way of the Dodo bird and the planet is increasingly wired. It is very difficult to locate a place that doesn’t have some kind of ability to tap into the internet.

Dropping out of the world's many cell phone networks requires finding a very remote vacation spot. Over ninety percent of the world's population currently has cellular coverage of some type, according to Wireless Intelligence, a data research service provided by the GSM Association, a trade organization of mobile operators. 

Seeing as my job has me connected more hours than not, the idea of unplugging seems both frightening and healthy to me. I can also see how there is an emerging need for a special detox from technology. Are you hearing me, California? Spa owners? I am suggesting you repackage your “relaxation getaways” into technology detox treatments for the chronically online. 

What I see:
  • A tranquil spa-like atmosphere with kindly people who go through your bags when you arrive to store away all electronic and communicative devices
  • Special herbs and fresh vegetable grown on locally owned organic farms
  • Treatments for eyes, wrists, arms, hands, backs for everyone who can’t help but push buttons all the time
  • A choice of yoga, meditation, spiritual walks, communing with nature, etc
  • “Working sessions” for creative online workers who are forced to use pen and paper to come up with technology and communication ideas for when they leave…blog posts drafted in pencil, etc
  •  A track for presentation skills without the use of any technology
What do you think? What else would a Tech Detox have? How long would it be? What would the desired outcome be? 

Personally, I think it would be refreshing for us all to remind each other of how interesting it can be to do things in a different manner than we are used plan presentations with paper rather than be forced to use other slower forms of communication...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Building Trust: Chapters Take the Stand

Today at noon ET! "Building Trust: Chapters Take the Stand" call 1-218-936-7979; access code 189780 #CRPLunch

More info at

This Month's Topic: Building Trust: Chapters Take the Stand
Guest Facilitators: Cynthia D'Amour, President, People Power Unlimited
Nancy Toombs, Executive Director North Carolina Chapter Appraisal Institute

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going to the Dark Side? Hardly.

Thanks to my talented group of friends who continue to mentor and teach me new things along the way, I am finally getting around to writing this post about the decision I made to go into consulting and what I represent to the association community now.

This is important because I spent many years at three separate associations and thought I might always work for a non-profit. Many of my closest friends today have come from my involvement with associations and only know me as "KiKi Who's Koo-Koo for Chapters!"

It was from that love for building relationships and from that passion for watching member communities grow that I found my passion for working with groups using new forms of media to reach out to members. I watched as the members in each organization struggled with many of the same processes. I learned from each instance a tough situation landed at my feet due to a lack of communication between members and national. I made really great decisions that had awesome results for my organization. Shock of all shocks, I also made mistakes. Through it all, I began to find a warm, comfortable place for myself in the association community, making friends at ASAE & The Center events and learning, always learning, from those around me.

And then, one day, I looked around and realized I had a pretty accomplished group of friends. Moreover, I had even done quite a bit myself to increase my knowledge and get "out there" to start sharing what I had learned. I tried to take the things I learned and apply them to my own job where some big and some small changes happened fairly quickly. I reviewed studies before they were published and I helped out on courses before they were announced. My participation in my professional organization was paramount to these accomplishments and opportunities and I could relate better to my own members as a result.

With all of that, I figured I would stay in the non-profit world for life. Truth is, I loved it! Of course there were the occasional personality conflicts and sticky situations, but all-in-all I had found my niche. *peaceful, happy sigh*

There was just one problem. I didn't have anywhere to go.

I couldn't see any changes for growth coming my way, which was odd to me because I felt so much attachment to the association world and to my job. Was I to be in the same position forever? I felt a little claustrophobic.

I was also concerned because I wanted to stay involved in my professional association duties, but there was less and less support for those types of activities (much less, for any additional types of professional development) due to the economy and I was taking on more and more expenses personally.

Then I began to hear from a variety of people about changes...mostly working for other organizations, but also to do this thing called "consulting"...which I dismissed at first. Sometimes after presentations people would come up to me and ask if I did consulting work on the side and I would take their cards and say, "No. But if you ever want to talk about [whatever subject I had just talked about] let me know!"

Who knew? Wish I'd kept their cards. ;-)

So here I am...a technology management consultant for DelCor. And what does that mean, exactly? Well, everyone told me it meant I was "going to the Dark Side" which is kind of a joke, but actually it feels like the world has opened up again. It means I can help the associations who are our clients leverage their use of social media successfully with their members. Not just one organization, but many! You can read more about my actual work here, but that is the gist of it.

So, association world, who is KiKi today and what does she stand for?

I help members connect and communities thrive online.

It has been over a month since I started at DelCor and I love it. The work I've done with the blog, presentations, and clients has been amazing. Within the past month I have given three presentations, written a lot of blog posts (I'm not pausing to count here), studied for and taken the CAE Exam (still waiting for the results!), and worked with a few clients. What I love about my job is there is an emphasis on learning and being a part of the community that I have grown so fond of. I'm also able to work on helping many different types of organizations solve the same types of problems I've worked on before.

So, have I gone to "the Dark Side?"  I've always looked good in black. ;-)


Will Change Change? by Ifedayo Oshin

What will happen to change?
Will change change as all things?
Or will it develop immunity
And embrace hypocrisy?
Will change resist change
And go against its doctrinaire?
Why, will change change not
Should nothing be permanent, even change?
Since change is also a thing.

Our world changes daily by seconds
Our lives in the roller-coaster of time
The noon gives way to the moon
The dawn turns dusk
At intersections of these:
One enters, another exits
One moans, another mourns
One rejoices, one regrets
In the spate and space of time;
A jungle becomes a haven
The oblivious became renowned
Riches become ruins
All on the altar of change

ifedayo oshin

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What If Associations Offered Free Membership for One Day...Announced Only Using Social Media

Those people over at Acronym blog have inspired me. Their month of big ideas has association bloggers buzzing and I have to admit that I've been thinking a lot about the resulting posts. What a fabulous way to wrap up the year...with our sights set firmly on the future!

My idea isn't a big one. I don't think it is even particularly clever, which is why I think every organization should adopt it. I think associations should identify one day a year for free memberships and keep it secret until the actual day...then announce it using their social media outlets.

Why do I like this idea? Because I think it is exciting to think of watching the word of mouth and viral nature of the promotion unfold during the day...there are so many things you could do with this! One thing it would do for sure is point you in the direction of the social influencers in your industry, if you don't already know who they are.

Fun messages could be prepared to go out immediately after the new members sign up, welcoming them and providing them with some online resources and groups they could join immediately to start taking advantage of their memberships...advising them to check out webinars or other types of materials a web savvy member would be interested in.

Who's in? If your organization does this or is planning to do it, please let me know about the process and results.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Participate in Association Chat (#assnchat) on Tweetchat

Every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern, a conversation about association hot topics takes place on Twitter. Jeff De Cagna (Principled Innovation) heads up the weekly chat, although sometimes he has guest facilitators take the lead.

The conversations usually provide at least a few nuggets of helpful information making it a worthwhile hour for participants.

Not comfortable following chats on Twitter? I made a short webcast showing how to easily follow a conversation using TweetChat.

Please join the conversation!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Event Hype: Have You Signed Up For My Talk Yet?

Next Thursday (Dec. 10) I am joining forces with smart-guy Sean Bordner to talk about "Private Social Networks vs Publicly Available Tools" at the Grand Hyatt Washington. 

I'm pretty excited about this presentation topic because it is a question a lot of association people ask me and one that I faced previously in my career. How does one know if it is enough to have a presence on Facebook and interact with members from there as opposed to using a private network built to work with a database?

Not every association has the same goals or needs. We'll get to talk about that during the session (I'll be giving examples of associations who have successfully stayed with a public social networking tool) and it should be a good time.

The event is free, but you need to register to attend. It starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m.

If you have any suggestions about association examples I should use or if you have any questions about the event, please let me know by commenting here or emailing me at klitalien [at] delcor [dot] com.

Here's what we're scheduled to go over:

  • How are associations utilizing publicly available tools?
  • What is the process to follow when making the decision?
  • What should you look for in a public or private solution?
  • Can both options peacefully coexist within the same organization?
  • How do you measure ROI for a community?
  • How can you make sure that whatever you choose integrates with your overall strategy?
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twitterverse, I Love You

I'm all about the love lately...I love gadgets, I love lurkers, and j'adore Twitter!

Why all the effusive sentiment? This morning I was meeting with a group at work discussing Twitter and I posted a number of questions to the "Twitterverse" to answer. People responded with some great tips for tools and advice on using Twitter, so I wanted to share that feedback with all of you.

It's all about the love...
  • kirbstr @kikilitalien I like @SocialWhale best right now, it has a web-like interface and has great extra features #delcor
  • maggielmcg RT @kikilitalien Dear Twitterverse: Please share your favorite Twitter tool! #delcor
  • maggielmcg @kikilitalien Also, Twitter widget in Netvibes--has retweet feature that works the right way! #delcor
  • desabol @kikilitalien My faves are SocialScope on the Blackberry. Socialite and Tweetdeck on the Mac and bit.y for shortening.
  • EmilieBarta @kikilitalien My favorite Twitter tip = interact!! Don't just push out information; Twitter is a two way street.
  • ericjgruber  @kikilitalien, and Mention Notifier ( #delcor
  • RvanHilst @kikilitalien I love Twhirl for operating both work and personal accounts at the same time. #delcor

KiKi L'Italien What is your favorite Twitter tip? I'll share it at my work meeting on Twitter this morning #delcor

Jeff De-Cagna
Jeff De-Cagna
Use Selective Twitter status app on FB so you can choose which tweets update your FB status. Is this the kind of tip you're seeking?
4 hours ago · Delete
KiKi L'Italien
KiKi L'Italien
Actually, a very good one. Point taken! :)
4 hours ago · Delete
Deirdre Reid
Deirdre Reid
If you're in a helpful mood and short of time, do a filter in Tweedeck by "?" and see whose questions you can answer. Good for associations!
4 hours ago · Delete

Thanks to everyone who responded! It really added to my meeting and alerted me to some good tools I wasn't aware of. Feel free to spread the love by adding more tools or tips below! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The 3 Most Important Benefits I Get For My Membership Dues

I just spent a couple of days in Providence, RI, with ASAE & The Center association leaders and I have come away from it with more connections, knowledge, and motivation to help get me revved up again to live life like I mean it. If anyone wants to know what they get for their membership dollars, I can tell you what my membership dollars pay for:
  • Knowledge - The listservs, section councils, education sessions, publications, and other ongoing communications that add to the overall industry knowledge that is available has helped me from the very beginning of my association career. Much as the platform for the listserv conversation needs to be made more efficient, it was the first ASAE product I was drawn into and it provided the most learning for me in the early days. It also helped acquaint me with some of the big names in the association world.
  • Connections -I love the Annual Meeting, with all of its ups and downs, because I get to learn from the most experienced and interesting minds in the community in the hallways and at the social functions. I back up what Jeff Hurt said recently about challenging conference attendees and speakers to put more effort into making the best of the learning sessions and opportunities available for teaching at the meetings. I have never walked away from a conference or workshop without learning something extremely valuable to help me do better in my career and for the industry. The times when I have learned the least have been when I haven't participated as fully as I should have in one way or another.
  • Experience - ASAE & The Center has afforded me the opportunities to volunteer for councils, task forces, and all kinds of activities which have enabled me to learn detailed data about studies related to my work and have helped me to hone a variety of leadership skills. Through my volunteer efforts I have been able to fully embrace the importance of what all of us do for our organizations' members and in that way I think I will always find myself evangelizing membership. Passion is not too emotional of a word to use.  If a person isn't passionate about their industry, learning, career, community, money, or anything else influenced by the power of an association; then what else? 
While I was at the ASAE & The Center Leadership Retreat I received valuable career advice from friends who make hundreds of dollars per hour for consulting. This isn't the first time that has happened (and I'm fairly certain it won't be the last). But what am I giving back to ASAE as a result of their help in making this exchange possible on an ongoing basis?
  • My energy and time - Because of ASAE & The Center's investment in me, I am going back to my council (I am vice-chair for the Component Relations Section Council) with a new commitment to helping the rest of the group get the most out of their time as possible by leading in a way that will help them and the Society.
  • My money - I recently donated to the Annual Fund for Research & Innovation and I am going to be posting and tweeting occasionally about this on an ongoing basis to see if I can get my friends to do it, too.  [I'd like to check in with ASAE and see if there is a way that I could prove to ASAE that the association blogger and Twitter community can put up some serious dough...maybe get a code and more price points at which to donate online ($100 is the least amount you can donate easily online right now) so that we could show our strength. I'll let you know if anything like that comes together. :)]
  • My attention - I will care about ASAE. I will talk about ASAE. I will share news about ASAE and with that attention others will see how much value I place with my involvement. If people see how much I get from my experience, then maybe they will join or participate more, too. This may seem like the most passive of the three ways I am giving back, but it could be the most valuable in the long run.
What do you get from your memberships? What do you give back?

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Stress Check List: New Job

Years ago I read a stress list that featured all the life changing things that could cause one to be overly anxious or depressed. On the list were the usual suspects: divorce, death, trauma were included. There were also a few that one may not expect, such as marriage, giving birth, and changing jobs. It's this third one that I've been experiencing recently and I can say that anxiety is most definitely a part of my life right now.

My new job is fantastic - that's the positive side of the coin. The people I work with seem especially smart and funny while the balance between life and work is a priority from the top.

But no matter how amazing the workplace is, it cannot change the fear I have of smiling and having something stuck in my teeth - forever branding me in their minds as "the slob." (check)

...or of having lipstick smeared on my face. (check)

...or of forgetting someone's name. (check)

...or of forgetting some code and locking myself out of the suite. (check)

Everytime I open my mouth to say something, it is likely that at least one person in the room hasn't heard me speak before, so I am hyper aware what I say could impact their view of me for years to come. No pressure.

After working at my previous job almost five years, it is hard to start over and to learn the ins-and-outs of the communal kitchen: rules for sharing office creamer and the labeling laws for food kept in the refrigerator. These things are still marked "tentative" in my brain.

Also, I am going from working for associations to working for associations as a consultant. There is a difference there.

Still, as anxious as I am, I have a lot of nervous excitement for this new direction. I am working on a subject I'm passionate about and I now have a legitimate reason for reading materials about social media and technology for communities. Fabulous news!

I know this is an unusual departure from my typical blog posts here on Acronym Soup, but I was thinking of all the people I knwo who are going through job changes and I felt compelled to share my thoughts. If anyone wants to share similar stories or tips for starting out on the right foot with a new job, please post! How do you start your day? What are some things to avoid? Please share!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Etiquette and the Perfect Lunch Spot

There is a great bookstore off of Dupont Circle in DC called Kramerbooks & Afterwords. They have a special brunch on the weekends and a knowledgeable staff in their bookstore. When Monica Lewinsky's receipt from the store came to light during the most heated portion of the Clinton-intern scandal, Kramerbooks refused to share the details of her purchase.  They are that solid in their commitment to their patrons.

I may be slightly exaggerating when I say Kramerbooks stands for the last bastion of respect for the intelligentsia in DC. But, I am in no way overstating it when I say, Kramerbooks has a great lunch menu and drink specials.

Because they do.

In fact, if their lunch menu was less inviting, I may not have ventured there  today for my business meeting with a couple of colleagues. If their atmosphere were less inviting, I may not have entered into a fascinating dialogue with a few patrons about social media and etiquette.

Our conversation centered around the pervasive use of smart phones and the way people use them in social settings. Each person shared their own experiences with people answering phones or texting away during otherwise intimate moments with friends.

And the conversation got me to thinking...:
  • I hadn't taken my smart phone out during our conversation
  • Would it one day be acceptable to interrupt the current conversation for phone or text (except in emergency?)
  • Was it already acceptable and I didn't know it?
  • What does this mean for meeting attendees?
  • We really need an etiquette guide/baseline for meeting attendees and speakers
  • Oh yeah, I've been working on this very issue with a few association people...better get back to it!
A few weeks ago on the weekly #assnchat Twitter conversation (facilitated by Jeff De Cagna), a group of us discussed putting one of these etiquette guides together. The idea was to create something as a guideline for attendees and speakers to reference for social media use during a meeting.

My conversation with the patrons at Kramerbooks today reminded me that people were still looking for guidance with this kind of behaviour...and that we need to start working on this project again as a community.

Issues we will address:
  • acknowledging the meeting's social media policy
  • acknowledging the speaker's social media policy
  • public disclosure about using SM during a session
  • your rights, rules, and risks when using SM during a meeting
  • what to include in a meeting program about social media
If anyone is interested in working with a group of us on an association social media etiquette guide for meetings, please email me at

If anyone is interested in learning more about Kramerbooks' drink specials, check out their online menu. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Social Media Show & Tell

Happy (New) Media Monday!
Association professionals are buzzing about their latest forays into social media and it is high time we gather together and share our stories, don’t you agree?

You are invited to call in to the “Social Media Show & Tell” this Wednesday at noon ET for this month’s CRP Virtual Lunch. Just have your latest example on hand and we will share our stories and answer questions for others on the call. If you would like to share your story, please email me before Wednesday and I will be sure to introduce you to the group!

Bring your coolest social media success or just listen to everyone else's for ideas! We will have examples in specific areas, such as:

- Social Media for Member Engagement

- Social Media for Events

- Social Media for Project Collaboration

- Social Media for Fundraising

The Twitter hashtag for the CRP calls is #CRPLunch.

Register at

Dial in number: 218-936-7979

Passcode: 189780

You can earn 1 CAE point by registering and participating in this event.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Day After

My flight landed at the BWI airport around 11:20 last night and this morning I am debating whether to continue writing this very sentence or to jump back into bed for at least 20 more minutes of shut eye.

Friends, this could be a very short post.

After every big conference I attend, I like to sit and go through a digital brain dump, whereby I look at all my notes from the conference - all the business cards I've collected - and try to save it all in some kind of meaningful way that will help me or someone else in the future. Reason being, my mind starts letting go of the context for my notes very quickly after writing them.

Here is a random Top 10 List of things I learned during this recent trip to the OSA Frontiers in Optics Annual Meeting in San Jose, California:

1. Fly Virgin every time you can when flying to the West Coast. I was able to comfortably work away online with my very own outlet under my seat powering up my laptop and cell phone during the entire flight. The wifi worked great and my seat was super comfortable. The ability to work during the long flight from DC to California was fantastic! Plus, the food you can order at your seat is the best airplane food I've eaten so far.

2. Always make sure you have the appropriate adapter for the LCD projector when using a Mac laptop. I ended up locating mine in the bottom of my laptop bag, but I panicked for a little bit.

3. The official Twitter hashtag for a conference is a necessity for organizing large groups of people for social events (or any other events) on the fly.  Make things easy for conference attendees by having large monitors displaying the hashtag feed in appealing way (using Twitterfall or Visible Tweets) so that even the Luddites in the crowd can be informed of the latest conversation about the conference.

4. Free drink tickets make you everybody's friend. :)

5. Attendees are expecting wifi to be available everywhere. They will miss it if you don't have it.

6. Protein bars and Starbucks Via instant coffee: Must-haves for the conference suitcase!

7. Use the Bump application if you have an iPhone. Anyone who has an iPhone can easily transfer contact information with another iPhone user just by using this free application. So much easier than trying to hold on to business cards all evening long. I wish they had this available across all smart phones and with an easy way to organize new contacts by tagging, but maybe in a couple years...

8. Conference organizers: Have a few free registrations that you give out to members who agree to blog about the conference daily. You will not be sorry. These bloggers will not only help archive the member-experience for your conference, but will also add to the overall buzz. At this conference, bloggers had identifying ribbons and the association promoted the blogs before and during the conference. This should be something you offer for every conference - the promotion pays for the registration.

9. Looking for a good giveaway idea? Multi USB ports. Thumb drives. Laser pointers. And yes, hand sanitizer. These things stick around and people love them.

10. Idea: Have a "photobooth" kiosk in which people can either add their comments about the conference and have it automatically tagged with your hashtag and added to the Twitter stream displayed on your Twitter monitors, and/or record a short 2 minute video with their thoughts about the conference that is posted to the conference's official broadcasting site. I haven't seen this done yet, but it would be amazing to have on site and is totally doable.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Xer-Rated: Grade A Fresh

A delicious new conversation has erupted due to Maddie Grant's Xer Meme. Matt Baehr of BlogClump fame tagged me and now I am here picking up what Maddie is putting down.

The gist of the conversation? "Have Xers Sold Out?"

I think I quit my first real job out of college because of that question. My younger sister (who was attending art school in Chicago by day and singing in an all-girl punk band called "Twat Vibe" at the time) accused me of selling out. In her eyes, I had given up on my idealistic dreams of being a poet/artist in exchange for wearing suits to my marketing job where I made a whopping $26K a year.

But guess what? Along with loving stationary and pens and pretty paper; I also really got a kick out of seeing my name on a business card for the first time. I loved the chance to "change something from the inside" and it made me feel like I'd achieved something special. I liked wearing suits. I liked having an office. I liked having a steady paycheck and access to logo items. Who couldn't use a dozen golf towels with my company's logo on it? Class-y.

But my sister's comments made me wince. Had I sold out? What if I had? Should I try to do something else? Was it too late? Had I become just another cog?

I quit my job. I don't think I claimed the "sell out" reason at the time, but I know it played a role. I was a rebel in high school and had always prized individuality and creativity above all else. After I quit my job, I decided to immerse myself in poetry again and started working on a plan to have a creativity workshop based on exploring the five senses (an idea I still really like). I went so far as to have the area art studio, which was supported by grants from the NEA, agree to let me host the classes there. But I doubted myself too much and backed away...and went back into the "corporate world" where I could at least be sure I had insurance.

Today I truly believe I am living a GenX-agreeable lifestyle. Yes, I have the regular job, but I also do creative things on the side (and get paid for them). Yes, I have a nice car and live in the 'burbs with my husband, child, and dog...but I also went rollerskating with my sister after I had my daughter and still listen to the Cure on rainy days. I still push the envelope, too. I still expect more from my workplace than a paycheck. And yes, I would still walk away from a workplace if I didn't enjoy it. Absolutely.

I bring creativity to my day-to-day job and push into new areas focusing on building relationships. I do a lot outside of my paid work to learn and broaden my horizons...Gen Xer's are all about access to knowledge and I am no different.

I think the biggest change for me has been in my beliefs. I believe in myself more and consequently believe in others more than I ever have. I am hyper-aware of the changes that have taken place recently for our society and the ability for all of us to communicate with each other with an amazing speed!

Matt's opinion matches my own. I haven't sacrificed my integrity or morals for a paycheck. I've been able to apply my spirit and desire to change things to my work - all of my work.

This was fun to think about - thanks to Matt (and Maddie) for passing this on to me! Now, I will tag a few more people on this for their thoughts:

Deirdre Reid
Shannon Otto
Elizabeth Weaver Engel

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's All About the Benefits: Discussing the Latest Developments and Trends in Membership Benefits

This Wednesday is another CRP* Virtual Lunch and we will be discussing association membership benefits and the trends for developing new, shiny perks for our members.

Erik Schonher, editor of MEMBERSHIP 2.5: REINVENTING VALUE (, will facilitate on the call.

People can register for the free conference call at

I love these Virtual Lunches...I always learn something new and I usually marvel at the ideas I come up with while listening. This time I'll be taking notes for an article later, but I'm expecting great things!

Here's the announcement that went out earlier:

Each month the Component Relations Section Council has a discussion on a topic of interest to its members. Share with your fellow CRPs your challenges and successes! This is an opportunity to bring new ideas to the table and get some feedback! Follow the discussion on Twitter at #CRPLunch.

This Month's Topic: It's All About the Benefits: Discussing the Latest Developments and Trends in Membership Benefits

Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Time: Noon - 1:00 pm EDT
Fee: Complimentary
Dial in number: 218-936-7979
Passcode: 189780

Please note: this is an Audio Only program.

KiKi L'Italien
Manager, Membership & Education
+1 202.416.1432

*CRP = Component Relations Professional

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Engaging Your Chapters with Social Media: Resources

In my recent presentation "Engaging Your Chapters with Social Media" at the ASAE Annual Meeting (with co-presenter Peggy Hoffman), we mentioned several resources we found to be useful for listening and monitoring online conversations about your organization or industry. I decided to share several of these resources here. Please note that I haven't included information on paid online community sites as that topic lends itself to a blog post all its own (NFi, HigherLogic, Socious, ...etc...). If you have questions about these sites or if you know of some new sites that are even better, please comment here.

The two basic social media alerts you need to have now!

Google Alerts
Examples of things to monitor:
  • Mentions of your Society
  • Mentions of your competitor
  • Industry keywords
Google alerts
Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms. You can also choose to have your alerts delivered via feed to the feedreader of your choice (e.g., Google Reader or add the feed to your iGoogle page). They currently offer alerts with results from News, Web, Blogs, Video and Groups. (formerly known as "TweetLater")
Examples of things to monitor:
  • Mentions of your Society
  • Mentions of your competitor
  • Industry keywords

SocialOomph can be used to set up alerts and track keywords in the public Twitter stream. SocialOomph monitors the Twitter tweet stream and periodically emails you a digest of the tweets that contain those keywords. You can also use this to track your @replies.

Another great thing you can get from SocialOomph is the Twitter aliases who are commenting on your topic area or Society.

For example, some of the people who post information you put out are not your members...
1. You can get new members this way
2. You can identify current very vocal members this way
3. You can also view these sources as outlets for your many followers do they have?

Transparency is the expectation.

Some examples of free groupsites you can use to start member communities: (formerly known as "CollectiveX")



Great sites for managing multiple Twitter accounts:

HootSuite: **Note: I really enjoy HootSuite for its ability to track link clicks when using its link shortener which is built in and doesn't require visiting another site!

TweetDeck: **Note: I like the way TweetDeck is formatted and its iPhone app works well for tracking various hashtags and groups!


Other helpful links:

Twellow: **Note: This particular link will be very helpful to you if you are trying to build up your list of people to follow (listen to) for your association. You can identify Twitter users who follow or show interest in your association topics/industry.


KnowEm UserName Check:

These are just several of the helpful resources you can use to help manage your online social media engagement with members. I have my favorites, but I've included some second and third favorites here since tastes can vary. Do you have some that you think should be added to this list? Essentials you can't live without for your monitoring and engagement practices?

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Highlights from the ASAE Annual Meeting

I am a learning junkie. I like to jump into whatever subject is near to my heart and then learn as much as possible about it. That’s why going to something like the ASAE Annual Meeting, which is what I did last week, is especially exciting for me.

Along with learning more about some of my favorite topics, like membership development and community building using new media, I was also able to talk in person with members of the Association Twitterati, who are without a doubt some of the most innovative and fun-loving people I have ever met. Maddie Grant, Lindy Dreyer, Elizabeth Weaver Engel, Sandra Giarde, Jeff De Cagna, Jamie Notter, Jay Moonah, Ben Martin, Matt Baehr, Peggy Hoffman, Jeff Cobb, Deirdre Reid and numerous other association superstars met up at the meeting and generated a plethora of tweets and posts. We are all geeks about engagement and that made the conference a kind of nerdy heaven for me. I’m surprised we didn’t make up campfire songs. Oh wait…we kind of did at dinner one night. Nevermind.

Anyway, the miracle of the meeting will be if I can possibly keep by note or memory even a tenth of what I learned.

Here is my Top 10 List of the Absolute Coolest Highlights of the ASAE Annual Meeting:

  1. Hanging with my ASAE homies
  2. The Delcor/Syscom Party at the Fifth Grill
  3. Talking about Netbooks and then about trends with Clay Shirky and about 15 other people
  4. Charlene Li answering our small group’s questions – easy with only 10 people in the room
  5. Listening to David Nour’s presentation on Relationship Economics
  6. Good lunch food provided on the show floor…on bamboo plates no less!
  7. Tweetups and the active Twitterstream for #asae09 (Also, the online hub! And the WiFi!)
  8. Meeting some awesome vendors in the Expo Hall
  9. My session with Peggy Hoffman, naturally!
  10. The Online Engagement Lounge (thank you, ASAE!)
Here is my Top 5 List of Things That Could Have Been Better:

  1. Ribbon bar available at registration area by council meetings for the volunteers on the first day…I didn’t actually get my ribbons until Day 3 of being there and I noticed several others missed out on theirs. It would have been more natural to pick them up right in the beginning.
  2. Bamboo forks were kind of ridiculous. The idea was good, but fell short in execution.
  3. Not such a long walk from one side of Convention Center to the other
  4. A bag check by the front of the Convention Center for Tuesday
  5. My scheduling abilities – I missed out on a couple of things I wish I could have attended…I did better than last year, but STILL missed out on a little even though I planned ahead of time. *sigh*

Moral of the story? I’m not sure. But I had a fabulous time in Toronto and will write some follow up commentary from the notes I took during the Nour and Shirky presentations..

Monday, August 10, 2009

When Do You Become the Great Benefactor?

This post is a bit of a departure from my usual association-related fare, but I am interested in how y'all might respond to the subject, so let me begin...

I went to a small college in Southwest Missouri called Missouri Southern State University. MSSU was not an Ivy League, but we grew plenty of moss in the pond out by the biology lab. In fact, in preparing to settle into this post I attempted to visit the website for facts about my alma mater and the site is still loading. Do I need to say more?

What made MSSU a diamond in the rough was something called the "International Mission" - a promise that the institution made to its students to help engage them with the world outside of Joplin, Missouri. And the promise wasn't empty - rather, many students took part in overseas study with partial to full funding in the form of travel grants.

I took part in the International Mission and along with my participation as editor/writer for The Chart campus newspaper, I consider it one of the shining examples of how a small university can provide a well-rounded experience to students., considered it I should say. Past tense. Because I discovered that with a new campus president and the economic downturn in 2008, several distingushing features of MSSU were disappearing and one of them was the International Mission.

What I couldn't understand and what infuriated me most was why the alumni hadn't been consulted before a public announcement about the end of the program. Certainly, an institution's "mission" was important enough to consider all the options and all the avenues for possible support. After many years of my explaining to my friends in DC (and worldwide) why I had not missed out by going to a small, little known college in southwest Missouri; how the International Mission, award-winning paper, and top-notch faculty had all offered me a unique and personalized experience; I was watching a huge foundation stone for the future of MSSU crumbling to dust without so much as a postcard asking for financial help from the alumni.

Blind donations? I understand why people wouldn't want to be bothered. But for something like a trademark mission? Some things are big enough to ask for the dollars.

Last week I received hope in the mail. A letter from MSSU asking their alumni who had experienced the International Mission for a donation to support the same kind of programs that we had experienced. I was ecstatic. Finally! A chance to help! I thought I'd send in $300 for this year...something I could do without that wouldn't be difficult to miss. But now I want to do more...I want to send in more than that. This is my chance to do something to change a situation for the better!

My question: How? How do I reach out and motivate people to contribute to the cause?

Anyone in fundraising have some good ideas?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wanted: Member Communities in Need of a Social Media Make-Over!

We’re looking for one chapter who would like to create (or re-create) their social media presence for a FREE make-over at a special session at ASAE & The Center 2009 Annual Meeting in Toronto.

Every nonprofit is looking to create a presence on the web that boosts visibility, creates a strong fan base, builds community and translates to more members, more dollars and ultimately moving the mission forward.

For chapters though it’s a little challenging. There are generally fewer resources at hand. Plus a chapter should be building this presence in a way that supports national’s efforts.

That’s where this contest comes in. We’re going to show associations how it can be done with success and pizzazz!

Here’s the scoop: Some of you may know that master CRP* KiKi L’Italien (Optical Society of America) is also a much-sought after make-up artist to the stars (really!). So we’ve invited her to work her magic on a very lucky Chapter. With able assistant (and also master CRP) Peggy Hoffman CAE (Mariner Management, an AMC), KiKi will create a Social Media Face on the spot.

When: It all takes place on Tuesday, August 18 from 12:45 - 2:00 pm in the session “Adding Power to Member Communities with Social Media.” During the session, attendees will also see real life examples and gain a simple social media strategy outline for chapters.

How do you get involved? Nominate one of your chapters for a social media make-over. All you have to do is answer the following questions and email to Peggy Hoffman ( by August 10, 2009. We’ll contact one lucky winner by August 15.

*That’s Component Relations Professional in Association-speak!

I Nominate ____________________________________ for a Social Media Make-over!

Your Name:
Your Association:
Best Way to Contact You:
Briefly describe who your members are:
National Website:
National Outposts:

Describe the national organization’s social media efforts thus far, noting any particular successes or challenges:
Will you or someone from your association be in Toronto?

Chapter Name:
Chapter Location:
Chapter Website:
Chapter Outposts:

Resources/options available from National (e.g., do you handle or host their website? Offer a members-only community?):
Describe the chapter’s social media efforts thus far, noting any particular successes or challenges:

Briefly, why did you nominate this chapter?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pre-July 4th Smackdown on Social Media News

It's a sunny day outside while I sit here typing away from my home office. Things are good - the birds are chirping and I am tweeting away myself...adding my voice to the ever present online buzz.

It is time for reflection and realizing that I am not a great writer, I am going to do this post as a list - a list of thoughts I'm having at this time about social media and associations.

1. Confession: I still haven't found the "sweet spot" for explaining social media and how to use it to association colleagues.

I stumble between the "What is Twitter?" folks and the "Could we use this as a widget?" people when they are in the same audience...which is every time I speak about this stuff. I feel energized and at the same time I feel like a failure. It's like explaining the telephone to people before they had ever used it for know how important and incredible the possibilities are, but it is hard to show people as a group how they can apply social media tools to their work in an association to make it exceptional.

I am embarrassed at this and feel like I should be better at navigating a room by now...better at explaining these tools. I am trying to think on this and I need to employ better communication methods in order to get my point across.

2. I'll still use the overused word "authentic" when talking about how associations need to aim for transparency.

I do agree that it should already be a given, an expectation, but I am not sure all associations are really there yet. There is definitely a divide, though it seems to be narrowing. The need for less marketing speak and more of a "human" voice is growing as we rely on more and more new methods to reach out to members. Promotional materials still need to exist. We just need to be sure the copy on our promotional material doesn't get copy and pasted into the wrong areas where honesty and tact is expected.

3. I'm still having fun. I'm still enjoying trying new applications and platforms...still reading up on social media all the time. But I can admit I am sometimes internally rolling my eyes when I hear someone explain for the billionth time what a hashtag is, or shared bookmarks, or tags, or the importance of using filters on Facebook.

I know these are legitimate questions that I have no qualms about explaining to someone...but to listen to someone else explain the same things to a group is hard. Is that elitist or rude?

4. Finally, my God, how much has my life been enhanced professionally by social media!?! I have friends I have never met face-to-face and to think what my job would be like without the benefit of social media's tools is crazy...

There. How's that for a pre-Independence Day post? I feel like I just wrote in my diary. If anyone at all reads this half-abandoned blog of mine, I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to comment as you see fit.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are you the Karate Kid of Networking or the Guru of Program Navigation?

Have You Mastered the Art of Attending ASAE’s Annual Meeting?

Are you the Karate Kid of Networking or the Guru of Program Navigation? Maybe you are a newbie to the ASAE Annual Meeting and aren’t sure what to do to get the most value for your registration dollar…

“How to Make the Most of ASAE Annual”
– featuring a panel of people with experience and tips for future attendees – is a free Virtual Lunch call scheduled Wednesday, July 22, 2009 from noon until 1 p.m. Eastern. (Everyone can register for the call here:

Among the possible topics for discussion:
• Where can I find out about unofficial social events while at the Annual Meeting?
• How do I meet other people who are in my line of work?
• How do I manage to bring back something tangible to show my boss?
• What am I supposed to do with the Exhibit Hall? (I am/am not in the market for purchasing anything…)

If you think of yourself as knowledgeable about the ASAE Annual Meeting and would like to participate as one of our guest panelists for the call, please email me at Ideal panelists will have examples they can share and a handful of tips for the upcoming meeting.

Note: This Virtual Lunch is part of the monthly CRP Virtual Lunches hosted by the Component Relations Section Council.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Plea to Attend Buzz2009

There are some meetings you hate to be a part of and there are some you wouldn't want to miss for the world. You can count Buzz2009 in the "wouldn't want to miss" category for me.

Buzz2009 is a conference for people interested in social media who are beyond the introductory "What is Twitter?" phase and fully enmeshed in the use of it from day-to-day.

Don't Miss Today's CRP Virtual Lunch Call: What Were They Thinking? The Risky Things Components Do

Don't forget: today's virtual lunch is at Noon!


Please join us on Wednesday, June 24th for the next CRP Virtual Lunch:

What Were They Thinking? The Risky Things Components Do

Hear about and share some of the crazy and risky things chapter leaders and/or members have done.

We will focus on the risk involved (potential harm to person, component and mother ship), how to mitigate the risks and what to do.

Here is a sample of scenarios:

-tweeting during board meeting
-releasing information before the mother ship does -nasty blogs

Guest Facilitator: Leslie T. White
Croydon Consulting, LLC

Register here:

Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time: Noon to 1pm Eastern

Cost: Simply your ideas to share and questions to ask -- plus the cost of a call to Minnesota.

Dial in number: 218-936-7979

Passcode: 189780

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chapters and the "T" Word

Twitter has been the topic of choice on a couple of ASAE Listservs this past month and while I know many of you are weary of the "T" word conversations, I am wrapping up an article for an ASAE newsletter and could use your help.

My article is about how Twitter can aid Chapter Relations Professionals and I thought I would ask my blog readers (as well as the ASAE Listserv readers) for your thoughts on this topic. How does Twitter serve you?

For those of you who have yet to find a use for Twitter, I have high hopes that my article will share some examples and some reasons why you should try it out.

Of course, there could be horror stories waiting for me out there and I could share that information, as well.

To be continued...


KiKi L'Italien
2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
T +1. 202.416.1432
F +1 .202.416.6130
Skype: kiki_litalien
Twitter: kikilitalien

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Building Community with Publications Using Social Media

Spring is here and I'm excitedly preparing to give a number of presentations in May. One such presentation is for the Society of National Association Publications. At this point, I feel the need to confess that I originally thought I was agreeing to speak to another group that goes by the acronym, SNAP...the Social Networking for Association Professionals group. In fact, I was kind of surprised to hear from someone I wasn't familiar with from the networking group since I am somewhat active with them. Now I know.

This experience reminds me to check facts often...even the facts I think I know. At any rate, if you are interested in attending one of the presentations I'll be giving, I'll be posting them to this blog and you can read about the Society of National Association Publications event below.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Come On, Get Social
American Bankers Association
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW
7th Floor Board Room
Washington, DC
Lunch will be provided.
Register Today

If you could wave a magic wand and make your monthly (or weekly) publication into something your readers interacted with every day, why wouldn't you?

Well, you don't need magic--you just need to tap into the power of social media. With blogs, social networks, Twitter, and other technologies, you can connect with your readers more powerfully and more often. Our panelists will share the stories of how their magazines started using social media, what it takes in terms of resources, how their members have responded, and how you can do it too.

Content Leaders:
Christina Gordon, Director of Communications, National School Boards Association
KiKi L'Italien, Association Chapter-relations Manager, Optical Society of America

Kathleen Rakestraw, Director of Communications, American School Counselor Association
A Special Thank You to Our Sponsors for this DC Lunch & Learn

The YGS Group provides a comprehensive line of editorial and graphics communication services to associations, societies & publishers. Services including creative, advertising sales, printing & finishing, fulfillment and reprint management help provide a complete solution for our customers. Association publishers throughout the country have chosen The YGS Group because of its commitment to quality, innovation and the value of original creative content.

Quebecor World is a leading printer for associations and related organizations that use magazines, journals, directories, books and direct mail to communicate with and serve members. Quebecor World has more resources, in more places, printing and distributing a wider variety of printed association products, than any other printer. And, with its new investments in press, bindery and distribution technologies, the Quebecor World association printing service platform is now stronger than ever.

Big Bang Machine To Be Even More "Big Bangable"

While the magnets at the real-life Large Hadron Collider may not reach extraterrestrials, scientists hope they will help lead to encounters with never-before-seen phenomena and answers to fundamental questions about the universe.

read more | digg story

Monday, April 27, 2009

May CRP Virtual Lunch: Help! I have a Problem!

Our next CRP (Chapter Relations Professional) Virtual Lunch will take place Wednesday, May 27th. We are looking to you to identify some challenges you may be experiencing and would like to bring to the virtual lunch for discussion.

Topics for discussion may include:
* Chapter/national relations
* Leadership training
* Leader conflict resolution
* Communications
* Chapter policies, procedures and operations

Now's the time to discuss your most challenging issues with the people who can help bring resolutions to the table, your fellow CRP professionals.

Please take a moment to think on some items you'd like to discuss and email either Kim, KiKi or Sharon. Ideally we will have about 4-5 discussion to send out in advance of the call.

Sharon Kneebone:
KiKi L'Italien:
Kim Grimm:

To register:

Note: You can follow Virtual Lunch discussions at #CRPLunch or you can follow Sharon and KiKi on Twitter - @skneebone and @kikilitalien.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chapters & National: Collaborate or Compete

I will be facilitating a call on Wednesday with a great group of people, including my Virtual Lunch partner in crime, Sharon Kneebone. Please join in on Wednesday, if you think you can make it! Here's the description:

Chapters & National: Collaborate or Compete

With resources tightening and no end in sight, we thought it would be good to look at collaboration versus competition between parent organizations and their components. Our email thread on parent-organization sponsored webinars might tie into this. I would also be looking for one or two other guests so we can talk about membership retention and recruitment, marketing and the elusive non-dues revenue.

Guest Panalists:

Scott Oser
Scott Oser Associates, Inc.

Alex Aderton
Director of Marketing
Associated Buiders and Contractors

Register here:

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Time: Noon to 1pm Eastern

Cost: Simply your ideas to share and questions to ask -- plus the cost of a call to Minnesota.

Dial in number: 218-936-7979

Passcode: 189780

You can earn 1 CAE point by registering and participating in this event.
You can also follow participants on Twitter:
@scottoser, @skneebone, @kikilitalien

Friday, April 10, 2009

Driving to nj with the fam...listening to rob zombie, jay z, and radiohead. Easter eclectic!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Using HARO to Your Advantage as a Non-Profit

You gotta love someone who plays matchmaker...especially for the media.

I receive daily emails from Peter Shankman. You may not know of him yet, but he is the mastermind behind "Help a Reporter Out" (HARO), which matches reporters with potential contacts to interview for their stories.

Receiving the HARO emails is a good thing to do if you are looking for opportunities to become an expert or idea leader in a specific area. That said, I often fail to open the emails (they come several times a day) and so everyday I am passing by at least one good opportunity to match myself or someone else with a chance to promote a business/service/expertise to the public. However, today I opened up the daily (morning) email from Peter and voila! an opportunity for non-profits in Massachusetts! Why haven't I shared this with the rest of the association world?

Please add this to your "to do" list: Sign up for HARO reports.

Also, be sure to follow Peter on Twitter @skydiver.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mirror to the Mothership

Sometimes the chapters operating as extensions of an organization can seem very alien to it. The more independent the chapter, oftentimes the more strained the relationship can be with the parent organization.

Lisa Junker's recent article on Acronym ("Chapter websites and donors: Food for thought") provided some data backing up the importance of having a consistent and well-supported brand across all components of a Society. The fact that poor or even mismatched websites at the chapter-level can have a negative impact on donations to the parent organization shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. However, it is easy to look around and see how prevalent this problem is today.

After reading the Acronym article, I ask myself:
  • What would it take to bring consistency to our chapter websites?
  • What is the cost?
  • Whom should I talk to first?
This seems to be a fairly easy problem to address with all of the technology available to us today. Now let's see where I can slide it in for my budget. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coming Soon to a Planet Near You

You may not have realized it, but the American Astronomical Society is celebrating the International Year of Astronomy this year, which includes the 400th anniversary of the use of Galileo’s telescope. Their website even includes a really cool little interactive map showing the different events going on around the world to celebrate this feat.

As part of this celebration, their website states that “there is a 100-hour, round-the-clock, round-the-globe event that includes live webcasts from research observatories, public observing events and other activities around the world.”

This massive event takes place from April 2-5 when “the Moon goes from first quarter to gibbous good phases for early evening observing. Saturn will be the other highlight of early evening observing events.”

What a great reason to have a party! Everyone can drink special martinis until their vision represents the unclear view of the celestial bodies we had BEFORE Galileo's telescope. Good enough reason for me!

DC events

BMore events

SoMD events

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Attracting and Retaining Young Professionals Members

Every month ASAE's Component Relations Council produces a Virtual Lunch teleconference about a topic of interest for Component Relations professionals (a.k.a. people who work with membership groups). I just came from this month's call and once again I feel flush with ideas and inspiration from all of the participants sharing helpful ideas.

This month's call focused on "Attracting and Retaining Young Professionals Members."

Samantha Whitehorne, who just published an article for the GW Network Now titled "Young Professionals Unite," was a panelist on the call and shared the Top 6 Benefits Young Professionals are looking for from their associations:

Unique opportunities. Meaning that he mixes the fun with the educational. Hold a leadership event that is also a cooking class or host a networking reception in a cool venue that they do not usually have access to.

Networking. It’s important for Young Professionals to have older mentors, but it’s also important for them to network in their own age group, since they will work their way up in the organizations at the same time. It gives them the ability to foster relationships now.

Sounding board. They can discuss the problems they face in the workplace with their peers, but also talk about career issues like pay or advancement.

Leadership. Some YPs may think they don’t get to display enough of their leadership skill in the office. But by joining these groups, they have the opportunity to do so, which will translate back into their days jobs.

Make it personal. Make them feel invited. Keep communicating with them.

Keep YPs top of mind. For example, the economy. Most have never dealt with a recession. Hold a career or financial management seminar.

For more information on future Virtual Lunch seminars (they are free!), visit the ASAE calendar of events.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tagged! Volunteer Jobs for Minimal Commitment/Time

I've been tagged by the effervescent and hugely popular Maddie Grant (part of the "A-List Bloggers Network") to comment on one of Peggy Hoffman's meme challenges!

Peggy asks:

"To get the conversation going, I’m tagging the following bloggers to help answer a nagging question – how can we create volunteer jobs that don’t require being on a committee, a long-term commitment or gobs of time? So, share five short-term, ad-hoc volunteer jobs you’d love to have and then tag five more bloggers".

Hmmm...interesting! I like to be involved, but I must admit to being a person who tends to wait for someone to ask me (according to the Decision to Volunteer study, I am not alone!). My answers below are the kind of thing I would respond to:

1. Guest blogger
2. Regular blog commenter
3. Author an article
4. Provide regular and thorough feedback on programs
5. Attending a council meeting as an invited participant (not a regular member)

While I am definitely active and look for opportunities to get involved in volunteer activities, I tend to wait sometimes for people to approach me. The idea that the community wants me appeals to me, although I have had the most success with taking matters into my own hands.

Here are my tags!

Sandra Giarde
Dave Sabol
Beth Ziesenis
Sarah Grace McCandless
Lynn Morton

Friday, February 13, 2009

I am a 2009 Bride's Choice Awards Winner!

The Press Release they sent me:

WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced that DC Makeup Artist KiKi L'Italien has won the 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards™!

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and honors vendors from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US. That means KiKi L'Italien has been recognized as one of the region's very best makeup artists!

Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds through surveys and reviews.

“We are excited to launch this annual award program to honor high-performing vendors based solely on the experiences of our WeddingWire community,” according to Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s recipients have set the bar high, exhibiting excellent service and expertise in the wedding industry.”

From me:

I would like to thank past clients for speaking on my behalf and helping me win the 2009 Bride’s Choice Award!

The Award:

2009 Bride's Choice Awards presented by WeddingWire | Wedding Cakes, Wedding Venues, Wedding Photographers & More

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration 2009: Making Up David Cantero

Although I had originally planned to enjoy a nice long weekend with my husband and baby by the warmth of our fireplace, I instead had the good fortune to participate in the 2009 Inauguration by working as a makeup artist for David Cantero, reporter for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola.

There are more photos to come, but here are several from my phone that I had a chance to upload.

Fortune Cookie Forshadows Changes

Several weeks ago, I cracked open a fortune cookie and my fortune was this: "There is no education like adversity."

It didn't take long for me to forget about the fortune and put it to the side.

Last week I decided it was time for me to invest some effort and energy into making my home office a little more "me" and so I began rearranging and decorating, taking my husband's lighthouse collection out of the room and bringing my daughter's stained glass lamp into the room. I even purchased a fun framed bulletin board to put on the wall. As I was putting everything together, I ran across the old fortune and I pinned it to the bulletin board thinking it was true enough and a good reminder of how to look at uncomfortable situations.

Yesterday and today I had an unfortunate "educational" series of exchanges with a person whom I used to call a friend. At least part of the problem stemmed from the other person not understanding how a platform like Twitter works.

I share this with you so that you may benefit from my experience.

This is what I have learned:

1. If you are active within social media, there could be misunderstandings from people who haven't acquainted themselves with the technology yet.
2. Direct conversation is best when trying to overcome misunderstandings.
3. We are not living in an age when everyone is knowledgeable about popular modes of communication. Don't assume!
4. Ask before accusing
5. People usually strike out when they feel cornered or trapped. Look for causes beyond the immediate for an explanation of why someone is striking out at you and try to be empathetic.

I'm not sure what will happen next with this situation, but I am trying to be reasonable and calm. Are you curious about your own fate? Click on the online fortune cookie...if you dare!

Friday, January 9, 2009

TwtApps Offers Beautiful Simplicity: Twtcard, Twtpoll, and Twtvite

How often have you wanted to ask your followers on Twitter or your friends on Facebook their opinions on a topic? If you are anything like me, this has happened a lot and being able to reach out and talk to a large number of people at one time is one of the boons and busts of social media. The "social" part is clearly critical, but how do you collect all the opinions in one place? Hello hello twtpoll! twtpoll allows you to poll your connections and check on the progress in one place!

Mashable shared two other Twitter apps that look interesting...might be worth checking out!

TwtApps Offers Beautiful Simplicity: Twtcard, Twtpoll, and Twtvite