5 Reasons Why I Should Be The Next Content Crafter at Buffer…

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1)   I still remember exactly when I first discovered Buffer (from a co-worker at Likeable Media) and how much I loved it! I even sent this tweet in excitement. From then on it has made managing both my personal social presence and countless clients infinitely better.

2)    I’ve been writing since I was 6 years old, and my dad (a journalist in NY for more than 40 years) taught me how to type on our Atari computer. I wrote my first “novel” shortly after – a mystery called The Adventures of Jillian Rhonda, loosely based on the Nancy Drew series…  Since then my writing experience has grown considerably. I studied journalism at the University of Rhode Island and wrote for the campus newspaper, I interned at Scholastic magazines, I wrote my own column for a local newspaper, I started a blog in 2006 and then stumbled gracefully into the world of social media sometime thereafter, expanding my writing outlets to blogs, websites, Facebook posts, tweets, etc.

3)   More specifically, I’ve written a number of blog posts on the topic of social media, I’ve been chosen based on my writing to be part of brand campaigns such as IBM’s #MySmarterCommerce and Pepsico’s Social Communicator project covering Internet Week in NYC, and even earned an appearance on CNN as a social media expert not because of my job at a top social media agency but rather because a producer was a fan of my personal blog.

4)   I left the fast-paced agency world of NYC to live a more relaxing life by the beach in the beautiful seaside town of Newport, RI. Although I’m no longer living in the hustle and bustle of the big city, I’m still a hustler when it comes to working hard and pursuing my passions.  I’m inspired by the notion of working where I feel my most creative, which for me, is sitting in a coffee shop with a chai latte, my laptop and some great music in the background. Bonus points for being able to see, smell or taste the salty air of a nearby ocean.  I find inspiration comes from the most unlikely places and being able to work at a dream job while living where I chose would be the ultimate work-life zen.

5)   I’m planning on buffering this blog post 🙂

Think I’d make a great writer for Buffer?  Please share this post and let @bufferapp know you want to read more from me!

Five Cool Things Technology Has Done For Me

Being part of the #MySmarterCommerce campaign with IBM, I’ve been thinking more and more lately about all the ways the internet, technology, and probably more specifically, social media, has changed my life.  Sure, everyone’s life has changed with the invention of new technologies.  If we don’t know something, we just “Google it”, we use our smartphones for everything and connectivity is always at our fingertips. But for me, the coolest thing about social media is the random connections I’ve been able to make and the advancements for myself and my career.  Here’s my top five favorite things technology has done for me (so far!).

1) Saved my LDR (that’s long distance relationship for those not in the know). Living in NYC while my sig other was in Buffalo for nearly two years wasn’t easy. But thanks to Skype, Facebook, email, texting and even Seamless Web, we were able to connect in more ways than ever possible.  In the olden days, LDR’s didn’t stand a chance, with the lack of cell phones, painfully slow process of letter writing and non-existent internet even couples parting ways for the summer pretty much had a “see you in September” mentality.  Modern day LDR’s stand a lot better chance.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch Going The Distance.

2) Got me on CNN! About a year ago I was up late one night perusing Twitter when I received a tweet from a CNN producer asking if she could DM me.  Unsure whether it was spam I quickly checked her out and she seemed legit.  After a brief direct message exchange on Twitter and a few emails, I was confirmed as a guest the next morning on CNN as a social media expert.  I credit this to a winning combo of my Twitter presence and my personal blog presence.  I later found out that one of the writers was a big fan of The Allie Zog Blog, which surely helped my cause! 🙂

3) Got me most of jobs to date. When I first finished college, I distinctly remember spending several days stuffing envelopes to mail out to job prospects.  Yes I literally stuffed envelopes, sending my resume, best clips from the college newspaper and a lengthy cover letter to every magazine, newspaper and random publication I could think of.  I think I heard back from like 2.  Do journalism majors still do this?  I HOPE not!  That was the first and last time I ever MAILED anything to apply for a job.  The last few jobs I’ve had have been obtained by a combination of personal introduction, Twitter connections, online job boards and again, this blog.  To this I say, good riddance envelope stuffing!

4) Connected (and reconnected) me with friends old and new. As cliché as it sounds, I still love social media for the simple fact that it’s allowed me to stay connected to people from my past, often re-connecting me to them after years of silence.  If you’re like me and left your hometown at 18 with not many returns, you may not have been the best at keeping each touch with high school pals.  I doubt I even had any of their phone numbers or even email addresses after college ended but thanks to social media I’m able to find out  where they are and what they’re doing and in most cases we’ve been able to “catch up” without actually having to see each other or even speak on the phone.  In addition to re-connecting with old friends, I’ve had a lot easier time staying connected to new people I’ve met along the way.  In the past, if you met someone casually at an event or even through a friend, you probably wouldn’t stay in touch, but these days, after I meet someone new, I usually find a friend request or new follower in them a few days later.

5) Given me important information such as “where should I eat tonight” “how can I get Lumineers tickets” and “where can I buy a hot yoga towel.” You know – the burning questions that before Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc were just so much harder to answer!

These are just a sampling of the many ways in which I use one part iPhone, one part Twitter and two parts my imagination to make my life easier everyday.  I’d love to know what technology and social media has done for your life.  Share with me in the comments or on Twitter using #MySmarterCommerce.

#spon: I have been invited by IBM to share my honest thoughts and experiences around Smarter Commerce, and as part of this collaboration, IBM may provide me with product, access, content or other forms of remuneration. All opinions are expressly my own.

Exciting Announcement!

photo-1Hi friends! I’m excited to announce that I have been recruited by IBM to be a part of their #MySmarterCommerce Campaign and join their Social Influencer Think Tank. What the heck does this mean, you ask? Well basically they think I’m cool and interesting (who doesn’t?) and they’ve called me an “influencer” (shudders…) and a “connected consumer” (what the…what?). I think this means that I wouldn’t dare buy something, eat something or go anywhere without consulting Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest…errr yeah, it sounds like I am this connected consumer thing. FOR SURE.

In layman’s terms, they want me to help define what Smarter Commerce means to me, and they want YOU, my loyal readers, family and friends to join in the conversation too! For the next 30 days I’ll be blogging, tweeting, etc. about what Smarter Commerce means to me, and how technology and social media plays a part in my everyday life. I encourage you all to leave comments, tweet me, Facebook me, etc. and tell me what you think and what it means to you. You might even win an Amazon gift card (woo!).

The sky’s the limit with this campaign and there’s a lot of exciting stuff to come. I’ll be featured on IBM’s site and some of my content may be used in presentations at South by Southwest, IBM’s Global Conference in Nashville and beyond. If I’m really ridiculously interesting, I might even get to speak at SxSW (those who don’t know, it’s like Geek Spring Break, see here) and be IBM’s VIP guest and/or be followed around by film crews for part of their Nashville Conference (it all sounds very E-True Hollywood Story). I’m pyched to be part of it all and can’t wait to see what takes shape. Help me get there you guys!

Stay tuned for my first post in which I force myself to relive this weekend’s blizzard and my 39 hours without power (AKA the longest 39 hours of MY LIFE). It will be riveting folks, and if it doesn’t convince you how much I (and all of us really) DEPEND on technology, I don’t know what will.

Check out the #MYSMARTERCOMMERCE hashtag on Twitter to see more of what this campaign’s all about and check back here often to get involved!

My fifteen minutes…

It’s funny how things work out.  I just got back from a trip to LA and everytime I go there, I come back to NYC thinking I may be more of a west coast gal then an east coast one.  This trip was no exception.  Also, while I was there, I connected with someone who got me thinking about my life path, my destiny – you know, all that good LA-ish type stuff… Kidding, but seriously, this person did get me thinking deeper than my NYC brain usually thinks, but hey, I also had a 5 hour flight to sit through… 🙂

Anyway, I remembered (or rather reminded myself) that I love writing and would start doing again and I also told myself (see last post) that I would start doing more things to make a name for myself.  Well call it fate or call it a coincidence but the very next day I get contacted by CNN to appear on their CNN Newsroom show.  I also got a tweet from someone at CNN who told me he “lives for my blog” which pretty much made my life since I didn’t think anyone except my parents and my loyal Newport buddies actually read this thing!

Someone once told me that if you leave things in the universe’s hands they will work themselves out and I’m pretty sure that’s true.  There are highs and lows, ups and downs, setbacks, surprises, and things to work out, but at least tonight, I’m giving my crazy overactive, overanalyzing, ball of stress, plan-making mind a rest and having a lil’ faith…

Here’s a clip from my network television debut.  It was only about 3 minutes so I figure I got at least another 12 minutes of fame left in this lifetime! 🙂

Comments welcome…and yes, I know I say “I know” a lot!  Rookie mistake, I’ll do better next time!

Everything Happens for a Reason…

This title is courtesy of my Sigma Kappa days which are now almost 10 years in the past. It was one of the cliche phrases repeated to us over and over again during pledging. Even though it’s pretty cheesy I’ve always kinda thought it was true (and hey, I’m kinda cheesy myself) and have said it to myself hundreds of times when dealing with bumps in the road.

Lately I’ve been having my annual (OK, monthly) “where am I going? what am I doing? am I living the life I’m supposed to be?” freakout and I’m sure a few people around me (sorry FF) noticed. I’m sure it’s the approaching 3-0, or maybe just the Newport nostalgia I feel ever spring when the weather turns nice and I can no longer go for a walk on the Cliff Walk or for a Astro Bomb at Johnny’s. (For those of you who don’t know about Johnny’s Atlantic Beach Club – read my one of my favorite old columns here!)
Anyway…this week I was lucky enough to attend the 140 conference hosted by Jeff Pulver. The conference was a 2-day event that focused on the power of now. What the heck is that you ask? Well as it turns out, it was exactly the inspiration and reminder I needed that:
1) I can do anything at anytime, it’s never too late
2) I love what I do now
3) I can always do more, do something different, go somewhere else, nothing is impossible!
There were many amazing speakers, some you’ve obviously heard of like Ann Curry (swoon!), Mayor Corey Booker, Dennis Crowley (co-founder of Foursquare for all my non-social media friends) and then there were some you definitely haven’t heard of, which is what I thought was so cool. Some were completely and utterly random and even a little eccentric but they were all inspiring and shared a common trait of passion and drive. Most wanted to accomplish something and did, in most instances more than they ever dreamed. All of them used social media in some way to achieve their big things and it was pretty rad to feel their energy and hear their stories. A few sound bytes from the day really struck a cord with me, which brings me to my title, “everything happens for a reason.” I think I was meant to be there and here those things and be re-inspired and reminded that I can still do it all, make my mark and conquer the world. Perhaps most importantly, I was reminded of something that is extremely easy to lose sight of, especially living in Manhattan.

Money can’t buy happiness….

We’ve all heard this a million times but I will be the first to admit, I don’t “buy it” for a minute. I can almost guarantee I’d be happier if I had more money. If I had more money I could travel the world which I KNOW would bring me happiness. If I had more money, I would help family members and loved one do the things they can’t afford to do, and if I had more more money, I’d hire a personal trainer, buy a boat and buy my first pair of Christian Loubotins (OK these are the totally superficial and selfish ones, but still…I would!)
After hearing a lot of people tell their stories of how they chased their dreams and never once did it for the money, it reminded me of something my small-town heart already knew deep down, but that I may have temporarily lost sight of. That thing is: people in this city often put too much weight into the pursuit of material wealth. How can you not in the most expensive city in the world I guess? It’s often all about where you live, what you wear, even where you eat and drink but it’s rarely about what you’ve done and what you believe and who you are. It’s good to be reminded of the things that matter and also to be reassured that yes, it is possible to be successful and happy and NOT rich…although often times if you stick to what you know and love, you just might get rich doing it…someday.
OK enough preaching – goodnight NYC – I still love you, I just have to be reminded every once in a while that the size of my apartment doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things!

Email address frenzy!

Since I first entered the “internetz” circa 1999 I’ve had 4 different personal email addresses (NOT counting various work email addresses).

First, it was AOL, then my college URI.edu address, then Hotmail because AOL was “a joke,” THEN Yahoo because Hotmail was a joke…and NOW I feel Yahoo might be a joke and I should switch YET again to Gmail?! Where does it end folks? Will I forever be changing my email address every few years just to have the coolest, newest handle or is there really an advantage to me getting a Gmail account? I’ve completely phased out my AOL account (although as I noted in my earlier post, I totally DO still have my original AIM screen name), I basically keep my Hotmail account as my “sign up for stuff” account that I rarely check, although I definitely still get email there, and my Yahoo is currently my main, sent to my phone, email account.
To be honest, Yahoo works fine for my personal needs and rarely gives me any problems except for the occasional freeze or temporary glitch on my iPhone, but overall, it does the job. So, my question is this, should I really switch to Gmail just “because” or are there legitimate benefits to it? I need some concrete reasons why people! And is there an easy way to get the word out on my new address, any services that will forward from all my old accounts, etc.? Do social media types really judge someone by their email handle–I mean I’ve seriously heard people say (or occasionally seen people tweet) things like “he called himself a social media expert-and then gave me his Hotmail address, LOLZ” or something to that effect. So what’s the deal folks, convince me, switch to Gmail to be “hip” or just stop the insanity and keep what I have for now?

New Look!

Wow, I’ve spent way too much time tonight mulling over my new blog design. While the basic “harbor” theme that I remember loving so much when I first saw it on blogger a few years ago served me well (and reminded me of Newport, RI, one of my favorite places on Earth), I knew it was time for a *slightly* more mature look!

As much as I love, love, love the beach and wanted so badly to make my background a sunset on a pier in Tahiti, I figured I’d give my blog a “city edge” since that’s where I currently live and work.
How do you like it folks??
I’d love suggestions, help, ideas, etc. from my readers. Even though I work in social media I have a somewhat limited knowledge of web design, coding, etc. so this took me a few hours but I plan on adding some other stuff soon as well. Twitter widgets, photos, more pages, etc.
Along with the new look I also plan to add a lot more content to the blog and have been jotting down all the crazy things I want to write about on scraps of paper for the last few days now! Call it a “creative burst” but I’m feeling all bloggy again 🙂
More to come, so stay tuned!