Saturday, December 26, 2009

How Social Media Stole My Sick Time

Ok, so it’s not just social media that I blame for stealing my sick time, but the whole state of connectivity in general. Even though I love the ease of use of technology, I also resist it.

In November of this year, I needed an orthopedic surgery. I scheduled it, made plans to be out of the office, and stocked up on soup and toilet paper. You know, the things you don’t want to run out of when you’re on crutches and can’t stand at the stove for an hour or drive to the store?

I was ready to rest, recuperate and heal. Maybe even watch a little daytime TV in a mindless vegetative state to speed the healing process. But that just wasn’t meant to be. Nope, instead I was more productive than I’ve ever been due to the widespread accessibility to technology.

In the course of two weeks, I finished reading three books on social media which I had ordered online (CrushIt, Inbound Marketing, and Socialnomics). Every day I dialed-in to my company’s computer network. Stretched out on my couch with my leg elevated, I clicked away on my laptop through my own wireless network to check and respond to client emails and made phone calls to clients when needed.

I logged-on to Instant Messaging so I could converse with colleagues about ongoing projects. I updated my LinkedIn contacts, uploaded a video to Vimeo from a discussion I led at PodCampNH called "I Drank the Social Media Kool-Aid, Why You Should Too" as well as the presentation notes to SlideShare. I wrote a company blog post, Tweeted about it for myself (@dvautier) and the company (@ActiveEdgeTeam). I shared it on my Facebook account with my friends and also updated my company’s Facebook account to promote it. Hell, I even watched the full series of tutorials on the Google Analytics support website and coordinated a new client meeting for the week I returned to the office.

My two weeks of resting, recuperating, and healing away from the office on sick time evaporated. It was simply gone. There was no sick time. If I thought about it, I suppose I could maybe blame some of that fact on me. That I wanted to get some things accomplished, wanted to learn and contribute and stay connected.

Nah, instead I’m just going to blame it on Social Media and technology. After all, I never had this problem before portable computing, instant messaging and cell phones.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Creating a Gourd Bowl

I always find it relaxing and empowering when I have an opportunity to create something. Whether it's fine works of art (OK, so I may not be capable of real fine art) or just a project that takes some Yankee ingenuity (much more my style), creativity is a powerful thing.

This weekend, I created a gourd bowl. I've made gourd bowls before, but each time I choose a gourd to work with, it ends up being a very unique and interesting endeavor. Although I know that I'll end up with a gourd bowl, but I seldom have any idea what it will look like until I start working with it.

On this gourd bowl project, I decided to take photos along the way so you could see what happens during the process. It's fascinating to start with just a dried gourd and end up with a beautiful and decorative piece of craftwork.

The photo slide show is available on Flickr or by clicking the photo.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Community and Reach of Twitter

Having recently had orthopedic surgery I was unable to drive the hour from Southern NH to get to @BostonTweetUp's first MegaTweetUp held at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (NERD) in Cambridge, MA.

My solution. Ask my
Twitter community for help.

When you talk about instant gratification, Twitter is it. Not only can you find nearly any resource you'd like, you can find it almost instantly. To adapt a phrase from Tina Turner's song Proud Mary, "The people on Twitter are happy to give."

That's what happened for me when I put the word out on Twitter that I needed a ride to the event. I tweeted to MegaTweetUp event organizer @JoselinMane that if I could find a ride, I'd be there. Joselin retweeted my request which was then retweeted and responded to by a few others (@CMajor, @bschwartz @AGirlMustShop @girlgamy and @WayneNH). In fact, my tweeps were out there asking their tweeps on my behalf using the power of their own networks.

Some of these people I knew and had met in person, others I had never met before either in real life or on Twitter, but yet all were willing to give me a hand. As it turned out, @AGirlMustShop, someone I had never met before and who worked in the same town where I live, was kind enough to pick me up for the ride to the event. My neighbor and fellow Tweep @WayneNH drove me home.

An interesting note about both my rides. As it turns out @AGirlMustShop is a very successful blogger, an area I have wanted to explore in more detail. She also freelances as a writer, which I'm just now sourcing for a client of mine. How fortunate. @WayneNH and I had previously met at a Forrester Research TweetUp in Boston, where we learned we were neighbors. Not only do we live in the same town, but we literally live across from each other with only a small duck pond and a few trees separating our back doors. He's also a huge resource on online statistics.

The sense of community and incredible reach on Twitter never ceases to amaze me. Not only did I find a ride to an event that I really wanted to attend, but I met a new interesting tweep and got to reconnect with a friend and close neighbor. The event, by the way, was awesome.