Friday, December 17, 2010

Blogging Entropy ends with Christmas Ponderings

To begin with, it would seem that I've lost all energy and momentum for maintaining my blog of late and for that I apologize to anyone that may take the time to follow my posts.

Usually I finagle as much snark into my posts as possible, but alas that is not the case today. Instead I'd like to take pause and reflect on the meaning of the season upon us.

I've been saddened to watch consumerism run its stealthy course through the ranks of social networks, broadcast advertising, and the like. Christmas is not found under the tree, or in brand names, or in the number of techy gadgets amassed... it's found in the hearts and spirits of those in our families, friends, communities, congregations, etc.

Christmas had become commercialized, consumerist and cold. No, Baby it's Cold Outside is not the cold I reference. I am referencing the coldness that leads to all too quickly forgetting the Reason for the season.

So I challenge to you ponder, what are you doing to hold true to the Real meaning behind our celebration of Christmas?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday's Thought

Is the population of your own world more than just you?

Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others. Helen Keller

Friday, August 6, 2010

attitude is everything?

Instead of actually being a blogger, I feel like a blogging poser for how infrequently I keep after my personal blog.

Of late, it's been work, work and more work. But, that's okay because these Milton Hershey students need my time more than I do. I love a job that puts me in the same space with my hubby, doing something that is worthwhile and we enjoy, for 54 hours straight. What right do I have to complain? As W. Bagebot said, "The essence of work is concentrated energy." We've been concentrating quite a bit and using a lot of energy!

What is work? According to the dictionary, work is exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil. Ooh, that sounds delightful! It's all up to you though. The difference betwixt I want to and I have to is your attitude. Jim Stovall wrote in his book, the Ultimate Gift, "He who loves his work never labors." Even if you don't love what your doing, can you still choose to like it? Can you choose to want to go into the office and give it your best?

Winston said it best, "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." Thank you, Mr. Churchill. I'm not saying situations are always rosie and that you should be positive all the time. If unethical, illegal, etc activities are taking place at your place of employment, an "I don't want to be here or involved" stance makes sense! But what about all the other occurrences when its not warranted, but you still have that chip on your shoulder, you procrastinate, or whatever other unpleasant attitude that comes to mind? Are you choosing to look for the good?

I leave you with this closing thought from Francesca Reigler as it nicely packages the point of this post, "Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same."

*disclaimer: this post is as much a self-talk message, as a note to the reading public. I am by no means the positive attitude princess.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fireworks of a Different Kind...

While our wedding was 10 years ago, the celebration continues to this day.

Today is the my tenth wedding anniversary and also the 234th celebration of our nation's independence. I cannot think of a better day to get married on, for each year the celebration is a real "blast"! (Please tell me you appreciate a dry sense of humor; the joke was borrowed from my hubby, Hans!)

We had a beautiful afternoon wedding in a wedding chapel nestled deep in the heart of our county, and shared the day with our cherished family and friends. The journey from that day until now, like any marriage has been full of work, cheer, growth, and reward. It's uniquely ours and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

While we reflect on the days behind us, we walk hand in hand toward the journey that is in store for us. The element that weaves commonly throughout the journey? Love.

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When is your anniversary? Do you share it with an national holiday, or other significant occurrence?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mechanics of Social Media

I like social networking, but what do I like even more? Learning about it from professional strategists that have full time hours to immerse themselves in all aspects of the various media. I pay close attention to a number of the "big names", in hopes of finding the golden egg, the silver lining, etc that I sometimes miss due to not having 50, 60, or even 70 hours a week dedicated to strictly tweeting, facebooking, blogging, etc. My job responsibilities are a blend of the traditional, new media, public relations, communications, and more.

I've sat through many webinars, am a member of the Inbound Marketing University graduates, know the ins and outs of SEO/SEM, have a love/hate relationship with Google, and other miscellany know-how that you'll hear shared by those making a career out of social media. You can know all of this, be credentialed with the best of them, but if you don't know how to build relationship and function as a member of a community, you've not got much of a foundation.

All of this to say, there are a few tenets that were shared in a recent webinar I attended, that I'd like to share with you. The host of the webinar was Peter Shankman, an internationally known social media strategist. I've read the books & blogs, taken the classes, and picked many a brain over a cup of coffee, but think these points from Shankman are the clearest communication I've heard on the mechanics of social media, to-date.
  • Now anyone, thanks to social media, can have a soapbox. problem with this? Not everyone is interested in listening. Be relevant.
  • Social Media Rules of Engagement: transparency. relevance. brevity. connect with your audience.
  • Remain top-of-mind by finding 10 different people in your network everyday and saying "hello" to them.
  • Be a provider of "Finders Candy": finding something interesting and posting it to twitter and Facebook.
  • Limit the number of posts, tweets and content that start with "I".
  • Everything you post increases or decreases the credibility of your personal brand.
  • It's never anyone else's fault if you're not perceived as you want to be.
  • Your personal brand is your professional brand nowadays. There's little difference any longer in this digital age.
  • Ask yourself: What value can you offer in everything that you post?
  • Say thank you! Thanking people is the most underrated action in the world.
  • If you don't have passion for what you're doing, don't bother promoting it.
The emphasis on the latter two points is because I find these to be the two guiding principles that most businesses forget. Don't use social media just to keep up with the Joneses, and avoid being status quo. People will follow your content, and it's your privilege to have those followers. Remember to thank them!

What do you think is missing from the mechanics and tenets of this post? How do you insure that you're not just vanilla in your approach to social networking?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Yes, laughter is the best...

I leave you with this parting thought on Friday afternoon.... don't you dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives?

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's not easy being green...

This is a succinct post, and I'll get right to the point. I'd like to borrow a question tweeted by @karlkellerltm earlier today. He posed to his audience: How would your life change if money were removed from the equation?

So, how would your life equation be altered; Would it level the playing field for you? Would you breath a sigh of relief? Would panic ensue?

For me, I would like to think that life would be simpler. Admittedly, I think that is easier said that actually done on my part. I'm really sitting with this idea, it renders me introspective. I think I'll let this one stew in my head for a bit. I'd like to come to the purest, most accurate conclusion.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Borrowed Inspiration: Exploring my Bucket List

I recently read the blog of a friend, Ami Becker. She posted what I thought was a unique challenge to her readers to make suggestions to her for her bucket list based upon what they know of her interests, character and abilities. I've the privilege of knowing Ami several months, having originally met her via a local tweet-up group of which we're members. Having seen her earlier tweet that had preempted her blog post and based upon what I've learned about Ami since meeting her, I recommended a few items from my bucket list to her:
  • Flying a kite over the White Cliffs of Dover
  • Tracing the footsteps of an ancestor through their home
  • Riding in a hot air balloon at sunset
Her post got me thinking about the contents of my list and how much do I feasibly believe I will accomplish before I leave this life. Her challenge has sparked in me a desire to evaluate my priorities. Part of me finds the concept of a bucket list a mysterious, adventuresome, rite of passage that all persons should have. But, at times I wonder if my bucket list may distract me from the here and now. Does it stir in me some small sense of discontent for things that I've not yet accomplished?

So to Ami, I say thank you for inspiring me to search through my list with a new perspective. I plan to take a critical eye to it's contents and also turn that critical eye inward and determine the spirit behind my bucket list entries. Are they just more things to say "hey, I've done that" or do they actually hold profound meaning, will those entries improve the lives of others, are all of those items really necessary, etc?

So, do you have a bucket list? What's on it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What to be and what not to be? That is the Social Media Question.

Practically speaking, social media platforms are designed to be communication forums. Communication is an interactive, two-way, organic process. If it's forced, it's obvious; if it's natural, it can produce modicums of trust and insight that can eventually manifest phenomenal relationships with time. Here's the real kicker, investing time and building relationship can be fun. Yes, fun and rewarding.

To reap the rewards of natural communication, I'd recommend the following:
  • Listening
  • Learning
  • Conversing
  • Sharing
  • Researching
  • Following
  • Investing
  • Trusting
  • Relating
  • Acknowledging
  • Doing
  • Engaging
In reading this list, you should notice a common theme...did you catch it? These are all verbs, that require action on your part as the person behind the tweets, podcasts, updates, whatever form of content generating you are doing. This list involves organic engagement on your part.

If however, you're not a fan of engagement and wish to alienate those persons that could have potentially followed, become a fan or friend, subscriber or any other term that indicates them as consumer of your content, than try this assembly on for size:
  • Dismissing
  • Ignoring
  • Automating
  • Refusing
  • Assailing
  • Boring
  • Tiring
  • Repulsing
  • Preaching
  • Annoying
Yes, these are all active verbs as well, but the difference... your content is contentious, dry, and impersonal. Sure you'll find some folks that follow, friend, subscribe, etc; but they're usually a carbon copy of what you're doing. They're other businesses and individuals also pumping out link after link after link, brand blasting, all tools of the marketing and self-promotion machines.

So have you decided that social media is an arena in which you want to engage? Then when you step into that arena, you should do just that, engage. Yes, social media can be a waste of time, but on the other hand, it requires time of those followers, fans, friends, and subscribers. So don't waste their time. Make it worth their while, and yours too.

So, what to be? Be all that you can be, and more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The joy in relating...

Where oh where...did timeliness go? For me it has flown out the window to a degree these last few weeks. I exercise my utmost to keep all details of life, home and work, time-managed to the best of my ability. In the last two weeks, that's not been the case. For instance, my desk at work has piles of to-do lists... sticky notes and scraps of paper are helter skelter. I barely can identify that it is a desk except for the fact that I know there's one under those piles somewhere! I am not even going to address the projects amassed on the floor!

At home, things aren't as stacked, but there still are things to do! Couple loads of laundry here, a carpet to be vacuumed there. Nothing too terribly pressing, but still in need of eventually being attended.

But, when it all boils down to it, what's my excuse? It's not an excuse at all, there's a quite valid reason for letting tasks get piled up beyond my typical comfort level. The reason is simple, slowing down to intentionally enjoy and develop joy in the art of relationship building.

Of late, in the professional arena, it's been building relationship with an airline partner that resumed service in our market. Time was needed to re-introduce them to audiences that had developed new buying habits in the 16 month hiatus our partner had taken. Now, they're back and my attention was taken off my tasks and re-directed to re-introductions. It's been incredible to experience the returns on this re-allocation of my time and efforts.

At home, chores are left to another day, because quite frankly there's so much more joy to be had in being shoulder-to-shoulder with my hubby on our interests, hobbies, and assorted household projects. Marriage is about doing life together, and that's just what we've been up to!

So all-in-all this post is not a lament, but indeed a challenge to myself and others to refocus on the priorities, your relationships...your spouse, your children, your friends, neighbors, colleagues, coworkers, whomever. If you can think of a person, chances are there's a relationship waiting to be developed there. Go, live, relate, enjoy, choose joy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Redress for Slacking Off

I am remiss on blogging of late. Life's been keeping me too occupied to routinely update. I received a tweet from an acquaintance across the pond that prompted me to the need for a new post. Admittedly, I've slacked because this hobby has been tabled in pursuit of those of an outdoor nature. C'mon, would you want to be sitting at a desk, when you could be outside with the sunshine on your face and the wind to your back?

So, that being said. I will prioritize a new post within the next few days. Hopefully that will keep the natives from getting too restless!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Avgeek Origins

You've not seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. -Amelia Earhart

Ms. Earhart's simple, yet profound quote encapsulates a lifestyle that a number of us live and breath on a daily, if not hourly basis. I'm not a pilot, but a few months ago I flew a friend's high-wing beauty, a Cessna Skyhawk around the Susquehanna & Cumberland Valleys and for a few hours first-hand lived what Earhart's quote expresses. It's one thing to be passenger on a plane, it's a completely different animal to pilot one.

Since I am not a pilot, I consider my career the next best thing to indulging in my avgeek proclivities! I am convinced that working at an airport is not for the faint of heart. The sheer excitement of being in the constant presence of those big metal birds is enough to make my heart burst within the confines of its thoracic cavity. Seriously, if you think aviation is only for the birds, you're missing out!

For those not familiar with the term avgeek, in short it's someone delighted, enamored, okay, okay...let's be honest, down right obsessed with all things aviation. In other words, an aviation geek. Avgeek, get it? My initiation into the avgeek community didn't commence with my career at @HIAairport. In fact, I'm about to admittedly date myself and cop to the fact that when I was 8 in 1988, I fell in love with aviation and big metal birds when I boarded my first-ever flight, destined for Detroit. It's been nonstop avgeekiness (Disclaimer: I am quite comfortable coining new terms) ever since.

My avgeek affliction is so bad that I must hearken back to earlier Levity and Irony posted at the turn of 2010. I mentioned that I fully intended to eliminate my squirrel moments from my repertoire. I should come clean and admit that a plane flying overhead within earshot of yours truly is my last lingering, squirrel moment stronghold. So much so, that I fully believe it impossible for me to refrain!

Are you a member of the avgeek tribe? When were you indoctrinated?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Philosophy of Twitter Handles

What's in a name? Apparently quite a bit.

I informally polled tweeps following my @airport_girl Twitter account and received a plethora of answers. Firstly, I'll dissect my handle for those not formally acquainted with me. I work for an airport, and possess a profound interest, boarding on obsession; alright, I'll admit, I am a downright aviation geek. The second half of my handle, is obvious, at least I think it is, since I am of the female persuasion.

The folks responding to my polling seemed to be equally split down the middle on what is the best practice for choosing a Twitter handle (screen name). My interpretation of the split is this: if you're looking to make a name for yourself, build your personal brand, or be completely transparent; the rule of thumb recommended is that your handle ought to be your name. On the other side of the coin, is this: if you're attempting to build a name for your company or enterprise, you're not necessarily wanting people to remember your name, or in my case, you like "kitschy" handles; picking adverbs, adjectives, company/organization/enterprise names, descriptors; basically anything else that isn't your birth given nomenclature is a-okay.

I actually tweet for two Twitter accounts. I began professionally tweeting for my employer in later 2008, @HIAairport, in order to build an online voice for the company. The resultant relationships and tweeting communities I was building and discovering through the professional account led me to create my personal account. And, it is strictly that, a personal tweet feed, admittedly at times it's my stream of consciousness feed. Depends on the day and how little caffeine I've consumed!

So, what are your thoughts on the matter. What was the impetus behind the Twitter handle you've elected? Did it have a grand overarching philosophy, or did you simply just want to go where everyone knows your name?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Birth of a Resolution

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors,
and let each new year find you a better man.
-Benjamin Franklin

January rolled in 3 days ago; and with it came the gambit of New Year's resolutions elected by innumerable persons worldwide. Pick your poison...I'm sure I've missed a few types.
  • Lose weight.
  • Pay off debt.
  • Break that bad habit.
  • Work harder.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Think smarter.
  • Be better.
Ever stop and wonder from where the tradition of picking a New Year's resolution originated? Four centuries ago. Babylonians observed vernal and autumnal equinoxes and resolved to pay off debts and returned borrowed goods. Next, Roman culture adopted the tradition by resolving good behavior to a god named Janus. Janus, eh? Hmm, now we can deduce where the month of January got it's name; for you see, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings. January of course, marks the fin of one year and the commencement of the next. However, I digress. Focus, Stef, focus.

Does this give you a clue as to what my resolution for 2010 may be? Try this on for size. I have resolved to become more purposeful, intentional and internally disciplined in my approach to life. I resolve to reduce among other things; my 'Squirrel!' moments, my ellipses projects, reduce the number of distractions in my world, in hope of increasing the quality of my interactions with others. These are my tactics, my strategy is quite complex and intimate, so while this may seem vague and without much scope; that fact you see, is intentionally so.

Are you resolved? What will you do to make sure you're actually improving the quality of your life in 2010, or improving the quality of the lives of those you hold dear? Is that resolution of yours strategic and life-altering; are you committed to it? Or, is it merely a vague thought that you suppose you may get to one of these next 362 days? I challenge you to not be a member of the 35% of our population that will fore go their resolution before they even implement it.