Archive for January, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

social-media-platformsI make a living in the world of social media. There, I said it.

I’m the one behind the Facebook tab trying to get you interested in seeing that movie. I’m the one behind that flyaway trip to see your favorite artist backstage. I’m the one who advises clients on how to engage you so they can market to you.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

I am also the one who has never clicked on a Facebook ad, and thinks that the new Facebook Timeline is looking more and more like the cluttered MySpace Titanic right before it hit that social network iceberg and sunk a few years back.

When I help a client design an engaging social experience online I always ask myself, “Would I click on that?” before I recommend or implement anything. I am not a typical user, but I’m your canary in a coal mine. I have a very low threshold for social media BS.

And speaking of BS, there’s no such thing as a “Social Media Expert.” It’s a nascent industry that’s just hitting puberty. It’s like trying to fully understand a teenager. You can’t. And anyone who tells you they fully understand a teenager isn’t living with one.

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Paris is the Antidote to Stress

Eiffel_TowerIt is more apparent to me than ever that I lead an unbelievably stressful life at home. Since arriving in Paris I have been getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night. The last time I got this much sleep at home was when I had the flu five years ago.

I am ensconced in a small charming apartment in Canal St.-Martin, the 10th arrondissement northeast of Paris. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without my generous friend giving me the keys to her home for a week. Thank you.

Although I’m terrified to speak French, because it’s been so long, I can read a lot of it and understand some, and not embarrass myself when ordering lunch. Everyone here has been more than understanding when I pop out with a Spanish word when I can’t think of the word in French or English!

It is difficult to totally disconnect from my life back in Portland for a week when I have so many responsibilities there, but I’m sure trying.

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Fighting the Jet Lag in Paris with Espresso and Pastries

My goal on my first day in Paris: stay awake until 8pm.

The only possible way to achieve this goal when arriving in a new time zone is to throw your luggage down, head outside and start walking immediately until you find the nearest espresso vendor. But we didn’t get very far, because the best baker in Paris has a bakery across the street from the apartment where we are staying, and the scent of freshly-baked pastries was just too enticing to pass up. The bakery is called Du Pain et des Idées, and there is a line out the front door all day every day. We waited in line and it was worth it.

Mouthwatering galletes and croissants that are nothing like you ever get back home.

We also found a Monop on our street, which is like an upscale quick mart that sells everything from champagne and chocolate to eggs and milk. We bought some groceries, and dropped them back at the apartment.

We spent the next few hours exploring the neighborhood, drinking espressos and cappuccinos  until we couldn’t stand it anymore. We headed back to the apartment at about 5pm, snacked on some Brie and bread, and somehow managed to stay awake until 8pm.

When I woke up the next morning, 11 hours later, I was ready to take on Paris for my first full day of sightseeing. But first some espresso…






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Every Trip to Paris Starts with Twitter

I am sitting here in a charming apartment in Paris, drinking espresso and enjoying the peace and quiet, which has absolutely nothing to do with Twitter. However, my journey to Paris began yesterday with the following tweet to @Delta:




To which Delta replied:

I was already settled into my seat on my flight from Portland to Salt Lake City when I received this tweet from @DeltaAssist and had just enough time to send a message with my confirmation number before the crew told us to turn off our phones.

I settled into a fascinating conversation with my seatmate, who was headed to Athens via the same Paris connection I was worried about missing. We were two cocktails in and deep into a political conversation when a flight attendant came up to me with a little sheet of paper and said, “You will make your connection. You’ll have plenty of time.”

And this is the power of Twitter.

I tweeted an issue when I was sitting at the gate in Portland. Delta customer service answered me as I boarded the plane. I sent them my confirmation number so they knew exactly who I was and what flight I was on. They sent a message to the flight attendant on my flight, who then relayed the message to me.

That my friends is brilliant customer service.

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