What’s Your GQ?

That is your Google Quotient. Career Distinction has a neat little tool called an Online Identity Calculator or your GQ.

A while back I started reading a few blogs on branding, marketing and online community presence. I’ve been very in intrigued by watching Cheryl Smith on Twitter.  She makes contacts, networks and connects people like nobody’s business. She gets it. She’s owning it. Her name. Her brand. And she’s working it. I’m learning a lot just from watching her tweet.

Then there are others that claim to be about a brand or a passion and yet they dont display that much in their blog or their tweets. Since your online reputation today significantly impacts your brand and your potential income flow, it’s not only necessary to manage that reputation it is potentially fatal if you don’t.

Now, I don’t claim to have a brand or an online presence of any kind. Remember I’m just getting through this transition in my life. But in preparing for the next phase of this life, I am definitely keeping an eye on how people interact and use social media to enhance their brand and engage others in knowing who they are and what they are about.

Career Distinction has a unique little tool that grades your Google Quotient, aka your brand exposure.

I tested it out. Here’s my score for my name, Amy Halleran, & BeyondJEMS. Oddly enough although the technical input was different for each, my overall score for both was the same – Digitally Distinct

Online Identity Calculator

Online Identity Calculator

Congratulations. You are digitally distinct!

This is the nirvana of online identity. A search of your name yields lots of results about you, and most, if not all, reinforce your unique personal brand. Keep up the good work, and remember that your Google results can change as fast as the weather in New England. So, regularly monitor your online identity. That way, if something negative, such as an anonymous ad hominem attack on your character on a blog, crops up, you can address it quickly, before it gets out of hand. Read Chapter 11 of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand for more ideas on how to continue to build your brand online.

Introducing Beyond Creatives

It’s official. I’m launching a new business this year.


Beyond Creatives!

Web Design.Social Media.Small Biz Consulting

beyond-creatives-biz-card

 


I’ve done some print & web design before, but thanks to Dan Powell at Endurance Sports & Rec and several other new clients,  I decided to take on the freelance business myself. 

Please be patient as it will take me a few days to get my professional site up and running. I really feel this is what I’m being called to do because my great passion right now is being creative and helping people at the same time. There is no budget or client too small that does not deserve to have a great site within their means. There are many ways to develop effective sites with social media and become independent of your “web developer”. Let me work my way out of a job for you. Hey! Money’s tight, everyone is cutting back. If I can set you up so you can easily maintain your site instead of paying me, then we both win. Why is that a win for me? Because web management is not my thing. Honestly, I find it boring. I want to develop your site and give you the tools and training to do the maintenance and help it grow.  Give me a call, let’s talk. 

You will see more shortly! 

 

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How Twitter Can Improve Your Sex Life

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Intimacy Without Intricacies

This is a line from the movie Deception. It was based on a scenario of having random ‘encounters’ with strangers and not having to deal with the minutiae of a relationship. It struck a nerve. Is is possible to have real intimacy without intricacies? 

This made me think, a lot. Going beyond the implication of just sex and applying it to all of our relationships, even the one we have with God. It is in fact what we do, isn’t it? In this microwave society, we want everything to come easy, in half the time, with little to no effort or strain. It’s what is possibly the cause of a great number of divorces driven by poor communication.

Bear with me as I peel the onion another layer. I’m big on defining words, so let’s start there…

Intimacy:  ~ a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.  ~ a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.

Intricacy: ~ marked by elaborately complex detail. ~ having many interrelated parts or facets; entangled or involved

If you look at the two words’ definitions, especially those highlighted in blue, it would seem that you absolutely can not have true intimacy without intricacy. For intimacy thrives only in an environment of detailed, close association; which is precisely what intricacy brings to the table. 

I’ve seen this example in many relationships. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it fail more often than thrive. Two people, whether they are spouses or close friends, need to maintain a level of communication that is constant and somewhat deep to nurture their relationship. Without it, life begins to take hold and slowly but surely creates a divide in the relationship. It doesn’t happen over night, but over time. Without a connection, without the conversation, distance in the relationship ensues and eventually you are so used not to talking, you have nothing to say.  You have either found someone else to talk to or are living in painful silence. This has happened to me with a couple of friends, in my marriage and even in my relationship with God.  

The long and short of it is, you have to have communication, a detailed knowledge with integrated parts to thrive in a relationship. Thus, intricacies create true intimacy. 

So where does Twitter stand in all of this?  

That’s easy! What modern day communication tool do we use that creates (somewhat) detailed knowledge providing familiarity and close association with those who use it? Twitter!

Historically at work, I would see co-workers brush off phone calls from their spouses as quickly as possible or people who didn’t speak to their spouses all day. I also saw just a few co-workers who would keep in constant contact with each other 4, 5, even 6 phone calls a day. At the time, I thought it was insane and very unproductive. But now as I have grown older and wiser I see the benefit, the intimacy, that communication between two people can create. 

This is where Twitter really rocks!  It lets you stay in constant communication with people you love. Even just the general tweets help develop a sense of communication and relationship. Throw in some direct ‘private’ tweets during the day and BAM! you have a great recipe for a creating intimacy in your relationship! 

Two people who exemplify this on a daily basis are @gailhyatt and @michaelhyatt. I was very taken aback by the sweetness in their public tweets to each other and about each other. At first, I though someone was sucking up because they were in the doghouse. LOL! But then I realized that this is just their expression of closeness and intimacy in their relationship that they are continuing to nurture and grow. It’s a breath of fresh air to see that real life example of such a positive relationship. 

So, to those couples out there tweeting together – Great job! Keep it up! Spice up some of those direct tweets and who knows what will happen. JUST REMEMBER TO USE THE ‘D’ TO MAKE THEM DIRECT. The rest of us don’t want to know what kind of special evening your planning for your spouse. 🙂

If your spouse isn’t quite game, have them read this post and see if it changes their mind. Good Luck!

Wireless AMBER Alerts – A Text To Save A Child

I was always impressed with the Amber Alert System – The notification system in the US when a child goes missing. For those of you who don’t know the background of the Amber Alert System, here is a brief synopsis.

The AMBER Alert system began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. It’s named after 9 yo Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bike, and then brutally murdered. The idea sparked a national trend as other states set up their own AMBER plans. Then on April 30, 2003, President Bush signed into law the PROTECT Act, which strengthened law enforcement’s ability to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish violent crimes committed against children. 

AMBER Alert programs have helped save the lives of420 children nationwide. Over 90 percent of those recoveries have occurred since October 2002 when President Bush called for the appointment of an AMBER Alert Coordinator in the Department of Justice.

WOW! 420 Emma & Jacob’s are alive and with their parents because of this system. 

Today, technology is letting AMBER take it a step further with text messages sent directly to your cell phone for your own community.  You wont get anything that you dont want. It’s directed by zip code, so I have mine set up for Franklin’s 5 zip codes. You can turn it off and on at your discretion or change zips just by logging in. 

You know, we text, we twitter about everything ~ inspiration, frustration, humor and just life – like where to find gas! Heck, I get amazonmp3 deals sent to me via twitter to show me incredible download bargins. So why not get something that is critical to saving the life of a child. It doesnt cost anything. And as a parent I know that I would want all the help I could get in finding Emma or Jacob, God-forbid, they are ever abducted. 

You can access their website and sign up or just learn more HERE.

How Wireless Amber Alerts work:

 
 

Android vs. iPhone – IMHO: The Jury is Still Out

The Google Android

The Google Android

Android Will Kill the iPhone and Cripple AT&T – Eventually

At least that is the review I read from Website Magazine, one of my favorite daily reads. They are all things website related then some. They keep me informed of happenings in the world of web. 

Here’s an excerpt:

 

T-Mobile and Google announced the Android-loaded, HTC-manufactured G1 phone this morning to an enthusiastic crowd, waiting to be awestruck. At first glance, the G1 looks to be on very even ground with the iPhone. But look a little deeper and the potential divide is colossal.

At first, you see a touch-screen phone. The physical specs are about the same. The G1 has a slightly smaller screen, is a bit thicker and weighs about an ounce more, at 5.7 ounces, but also features a higher resolution camera. But the first big difference you see is the slide-out keyboard on the G1. This should be a big hit – it’s ease of use in in sharp contrast to the awkward experience of iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard.

HUGE PLUS’s:

  • OPEN DEVELOPMENT FOR APPS (Opened world wide across multiple platforms – huge threat to Apple)
  • DIRECT INTEGRATION W/ GMAIL, GOOGLE READER, SEARCH, CALENDAR, CHAT, iGOOGLE & MAPS (w/ Street View & Built In Compass)
  • ONE DEVISION TO INTEGRATE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE
CHALLENGES:
  • No iTunes. Android will use Amazon’s mp3 store. 
  • Battery life. 
  • No video camera. 
Summary Excerpt:
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two devices, and the most important was summed up by Google co-founder Larry Page when he said, “This is as good a computer as you had a few years ago … as a phone.” And that’s an important distinction. Whereas Apple’s iPhone has been marketed as a Web-enabled phone, the G1 is being marketed as a full-on computer. And in case there was any confusion between the two, Google’s other co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrated his new favorite Android app. He tossed the phone in the air, saying that the app meausured the time between when the phone was tossed and when it landed – slyly demontsrating the accelerometer, the “fun” side of Android and effectively saying, this phone is every bit as good as the iPhone … but better.
Check out the full story HERE.  

Do You Want TaTango?

Some readers have asked where I get my info on some of the cool websites I write about; it’s called  Website Magazine.  I get a daily email, but you can choose to get a weekly summary or even an RSS feed to your reader.  I think it has great updated news on all things website related. It’s so hard to keep up with all of it on your own, so I use them to do it for me.  Here’s the lastest it of info that shocked me!   
A recent DMA report shows that out of 800 U.S. mobile phone users surveyed, 70 percent responded to a marketing text message, while just 41 percent responded to a survey and 30 percent to email offers.
Wow!  70% response to text marketing.  That’s huge.  Now I’m not sure what th basis for the study consisted of but that’s a big number regardless. With this info also came the introduction of a Twitter like website/service Tatango. With Tatango you can get a free service + their ads or an ad-free service for a small fee.  I checked it out. It looks cool, with some great features coming like pre-scheduled texting. Who knows if they would have the same issues as Twitter with up time & capacity, but the downside is the free service has ads that go out with your text. That’s enough to keep me from trying it right now.
For those who want to follow my fun filled exciting life, follow me on Twitter, click HERE.
Here’s the full article below…

 

Easy SMS Campaigns with Tatango

There’s no denying that text messaging has become a mainstream form of communication in the United States. A recent DMA report shows that out of 800 U.S. mobile phone users surveyed, 70 percent responded to a marketing text message, while just 41 percent responded to a survey and 30 percent to email offers. Whether because of the novelty factor or the proximity of mobile devices to users, businesses have a big opportunity to market to a highly captive, opt-in audience by using SMS.

Tatango provides a capable and cost-effective way to reach out to the texting generation. With Tatango, you set up an account and a group – this is the title of the text message your contacts will see – start inviting members to your group, and start collecting phone numbers. An unlimited amount of text messages can be sent with both the free and pro versions, but the free version does contain limited advertising. With the pro version (starting at $4.95 per month) you can eliminate the advertising and Tatango branding and offer a couple of interesting ways to get users to sign up.

  • Keywords – offer users the option to text a keyword to your account and they will be automatically enrolled in your group.
  • Widgets – create a widget and customize it to match the look of your site. You can then embed that widget in your website, blog or any number of social networks. See the example below, from a celebrity gossip blog.

Using keywords, adding additional groups and ad-free messaging are upgrades to the pro version and range in cost from $15 to $29.95 per month. Once your account is set up, you’re ready to start marketing via SMS. Log in to your account, write your message and select individuals from your group to text. Click a button and almost instantly, your subscribers

The possibilities are wide open. Send alerts to a new blog post, coupon codes for a new product, acknowledge information requests or orders, provide a cilckable phone number and send links to your website. If it can be done with about 100 characters, you can text it.

It’s important to keep in mind that the mobile device is a very personal item. Therefore, it’s a good idea to include an opt-out in your messages. Tell your subscribers to send a return text of “stop” and Tatango will automatically remove them from your list. Even if your subscribers send a text in plain language such as “stop texting me,” Tatango will find that message and remove them from your list.

Currently, Tatango is in private beta. But as an exclusive to Website Magazine readers, if you email beta@tatango.com with “Website Magazine” in the subject, you can get one of 50 available invites and start exploring the opportunities.

You KNOL it!

Hey folks!  I just published my first Google KNOL.  Go check it out, HERE!

FYI…  Google KNOL is the newly released competition for Wikipedia!  OHHHHH!!!!  Please comment if you like what you read. 

Will you Google KNOL or stay faithful to Wiki?

This Just Broke Me!

This is a part of Positive Post Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday. .  It may seem a bit odd, but I am honoring social media.  I received a tweet from CherylSmith999 on this video that she found on another blog.  Messages of hope, forgiveness, love are all stories we need to hear and share.  I would have never had this experience or a great moment of reflection & prayer were it not for social media. Thank you Mr. YouTube guy for inventing YouTube.  Thank you Mr. Twitter guy for inventing Twitter. And thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet. (haha! had to see if u were paying attention) But seriously, thank you to all those who participate and share positive stories of encouragement and faith.  Please do carry on!

Applying LifeWorks 2.0

So I sat in LifeWorks 2.0 today with a ton of awesome bloggers like JVo from VertizontalBrody Harper and Vicky Beeching.  We were led by the dynamic duo of BlogFather – Randy Elrod & BlogSon – Spence Smith.  I learned so much I thought my head would expode. From all the bloggy basics to more advanced applications, such as: Carnivals, Twitter, Pingbacks, MogulusYouTube, Linky Love, (that’s Linky, not Kinky) Permalinks, etc. It was all there. 

So what am I doing up at 12:08 am on Wednesday? I am already applying in real life what I learned in LifeWorks. 

I’ve been participating in Randy’s  blog carnival  – Water Cooler Wedsnesday’s for a while now.  And I’ve received a lot of traffic because of it. I try to make my posts relevant to culture, arts or technology.  Sometimes I don’t do a very good job, but other days my blog rocks with traffic because of posts like this.

I also participate in another blog carnival  hosted by Rocks in My Dryer called Works For Me Wednesday. I have not done a very good job of posting relevant things there. And I’m feeling guilty because I’m not following the rules very well or  keeping it real  or  providing compelling content. 😦  

So tonight, or today however you want to look at it, I decided to dedicate two unique posts to each carnival and make them count. I wrote by post for WFMW first, you can read it here. And can I tell you how excited I was to post it and be #72.  Yes, #72 – that’s like blog carnival prime real estate for WFMW because this carnival gets well over 200 posts.  That’s a lot of links and a lot of things to read. So it you post in the front of a carnival you get more traffic.  You also have to post with a good title tag. What better than to tell people How to Get Free Stuff. I’d say that would compel anyone to look.

Here’s the beauty and the mystery of the blogosphere all coming to light. While I was there I glanced at some of the other early posts. And I’d StumbleUpon a post by Karla called How Not To Be A Twitter Nit Wit.  This was awesome!  It gave me, a Twitter neophyte, a great lesson on applications to use with Twitter.  Now, don’t get me wrong Randy & Spence did a great job of explaining Twitter at LifeWorks 2.0 and how to use it and why to use it.  But this took things to another level for me. It’s more of an Advanced Twitter lesson. 

This was also a good exercise to apply what I learned in LifeWorks 2.0.  Why?

  1. I participated in 2 blog carnivals that I got in on early (by staying up late)
  2. I posted on Carnival 1 with compelling content, a good title tag and kept it real.
  3. Which led me to meet another blogger , via Linky Love, Karla, who is also from Nashville and a great mom blogger.
  4. She offered at the end of her post to follow her on Twitter, which I did. And I’m hoping she will follow me because participating in social networking is crucial to blogging success. (Participate in LifeWorks 2.0 to find out why).
  5. I also added a thoughtful comment to her blog and invited her to coffee. Seeing she is an experienced blogger, I’m hoping we can connect & share.
  6. And I got to post all of this today on Carnival 2 and provide you all a lesson in cultural media.

Why do all of this?     To…  BUILD THE COMMUNITY …  because when we do…  RISING TIDES LIFT ALL SHIPS!

Thanks BlogGranddad & BlogDad for such great lessons today at LifeWorks 2.0

Sending My Best,

Amy     (I am actually a BlogGrandDaughter, in this grand scheme!)

PS. For those who missed LifeWorks 2.0, this is just the first millimeter tip of the iceberg that is LifeWorks. Send a request to Randy or Spence to hold another class quick.  You really can’t afford to miss it again!