Deep Thoughts on Travel

Inspired. Incredibly Inspired Again by Travel.

Lisbon is one of the absolute BEST cities I’ve ever traveled to alone! I love London (here now for the 5th time in my life as I write this post), but people never chat me up here like in Lisbon!! It’s extraordinary, really. So… I’m trying to put my finger on why exactly…

Lisbon is smaller, and so many of the people out and about are tourists looking to meet other people (vs. a bigger city where locals are out enjoying the bars)? Maybe. London locals I know have even admitted to me that Londoners tend to be a bit “colder” than people in other cities.

Portuguese people (aka, the bartenders/servers) are just friendlier in general? That is part of it. I will also say it was a ratio of about 90% men to 10% women. That probably worked to my advantage ?. It was likely a combination of all of that. Oh, and apparently because of the time of year I was like a unicorn (American woman! Named Megan! Was a big deal for one German guy).

I can say without question I had some of the most interesting, fun, and infuriating (< yes, you read that right, and it didn’t even involve politics!) conversations of ANY city/trip I’ve been on in all my travels!

Being honest, I didn’t see as much of the city or take day trips outside the city like I wanted to because my nights were LATE! But it was worth it. I’m so enriched by the city, and its people, and the other tourists I got to know that I would do it all exactly the same way again. Oh, and I’ll go back for SURE.

Solo Traveler

Many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around how or why I like to travel alone. I love my friends, and I have wonderful experiences with them, but I never meet people like I do when I’m alone! It’s just different (and easier)… I relish my solo travel because I rarely feel “alone.”

I know I’m so fortunate to live this life. And even more motivated to write the damn book already!!

Now, time for work while in London, which was the original reason for the trip! Thankfully my work is also incredibly fun.


Do. Do what you love. I’ve said it before… Be a doer. No matter what it is!! ✌?

P.S. It may or may not be worth noting that I wrote this while at a London sports bar waiting to watch Monday Night Football (they were kind enough to put it on for me)… after it was clear no one wanted to socialize with me! ?

Helping you with Social Media Basics & Beyond

Many individuals think they can “do social media” because they’ve been doing it for themselves personally for years. The fact is it’s different for business, and there are some basics that can help you on the right path. Things are constantly changing, and this is how I see it today.

Develop content in advance

There’s some time savings in not staring at your computer each day you set out to post, trying to figure out what it is you want to say. It’s also a way to be more strategic about what you’re posting. When creating your content it’s key to not only promote your organization and events you might be having, but to also promote other orgs.

Are their businesses or organizations that have a similar mission to yours? Are there individuals doing great work in the space you’re working in? Use their content in your posts. Also seek out their posts, and engage with them on their platforms. Let them know what they’re doing is awesome!

  • Put that content into a written plan of consistency using a tool like CoSchedule ( or PostPlanner. This will help you get an even spread of the different kinds of posts you’re sharing with the world.
  • Use a scheduling tool, like Buffer (better) or Hootsuite (fine), but don’t rely on it completely. It’s still important to mix in organic, active engagement with both YOUR account, and accounts you are following.

    Cross-promote content between platforms…

    But word the posts differently. I suggest writing for Facebook so that it’s natural and descriptive… and then pare it down for Twitter. 

    On Instagram there’s no real character limit, but most people aren’t there to read — they’re there primarily to see your images. Write a quick caption, and refer your followers to a link in your bio if you’re trying to drive them to register for an event, read a blog post, or donate money, etc. Also follow “thought leaders” in your industry who aren’t tied to a particular organization, but from whom you (and others) can learn.

    LIVE Video is hot hot hot.

    The videos don’t have to perfect, and they don’t have to be long, but Facebook is putting live video at the top of the feed and increasing the organic growth (that’s mostly gone away). If you “go live” directly in Facebook, your followers will be notified that you’ve gone live, and they are more likely to see the video. They might not see it live, but they are likely to see the replay.

    Special events are a great opportunity for this (create fear of missing out / FOMO for next time!), but your team / board can go live also at any time, so long as there is something of value to be shared! You should have a strategy, but have no fear because you have to start somewhere. Consider a weekly show at the same time each week… And just press RECORD.

    Good images are crucial.

    People aren’t very forgiving of images that aren’t appealing. This is important on all platforms, and especially important on Instagram. Your images should have a consistent look and feel. The algorithms on the platforms work based on people liking your content, and you’re likely to see more content similar to that which you’ve shown an interest (which means your account will be suggested to the “right” people also).

    Consistent voice is important.

    You might have different people writing your content, but it’s important that the “voice” sounds consistent. This can be accomplished by having the same person editing the calendar that ultimately goes out. You might also consider developing a style guide that everyone on your team follows, ensuring that the branding, verbiage, and look is consistent. Having consistent types of images is also important.

    Don’t be afraid to repeat content that does well.

    While you don’t want to always be “self-serving” when you post, you also don’t want to miss opportunities to promote the big events you have going like fundraisers or product launches. If you’re partnering with sponsors, this is a great opportunity to tag them and give them love for working with you! It’s also an opportunity to re-post evergreen content that has had a good response before.

    There’s no “one-size-fits-all” regarding frequency of posting.

    Even some of the experts disagree, but everyone agrees that it “all depends”! Your followers are different from the followers of other organizations, so you should test to see what times / types of posts get the best engagement. This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. If you post and no one engages, it’s not relevant, right?

    * Twitter tips: Use to test best times to post for your followers (it works well with Buffer too). It also makes sense to use the hashtags appropriate for your industry to be found, but don’t use more than 2-3 in a single post.

    For example, in the events industry, use #eventprofs to make sure you’re seen/found by others in that space. In non-profit world, there are a bunch, but #socialimpact is a big one, and #givingtuesday is a good one also (more on hashtags in a minute!).

    * Facebook tips: Research has shown recently that posting more frequently will hurt, rather than help. More than likely you can get away with posting 4-5 times per week — just once per day. However, organic visibility is extremely difficult, so if you aren’t going to “pay to play,” you should have a tribe of people who are liking, commenting, and sharing what you’re posting! This helps increase the visibility (along with LIVE video posting).

    It is worth targeting VERY specifically in Facebook and spending a little bit of money to increase your reach. DO NOT use the boost button (even though they put it in your face all day long), but use the Ad manager instead. Within the manager you can get very specific on target demographics to maximize your spend (even at as little as $5 per day).


Pro TipHashtagging is an art – learn it.

You should develop appropriate hashtags, be consistent, and tweak/re-tool as you go. Use them somewhat sparingly in your initial post, but strategically. Figure out primary ones in your industry—use them, and experiment with others.

Some platforms “require” them, while others use them less liberally.

Facebook– You can search by hashtags, but it’s not done much here.
Twitter – Important here to be found – no more than 3 per post.
LinkedIn – Hardly used here, but they are searchable.
Instagram – Crucial to be found – used here religiously.

Some sites will tell you what’s trending…

In Conclusion

There’s no one right way to do things, but you will find the right way for your business or organization. Hopefully these tips and guidelines will help you to discover what works best for you. The tactics of how to use the different platforms will continue to change on a regular basis, but  you should be consistent with your strategy.

Need any help figuring out the right direction for your social media? Reach out to me, and I’ll see if we can help you with your strategy!

Just Do Something

Are folks online who don’t agree with the women’s march feeling threatened or are they uninformed? Is everyone yelling so loud they aren’t actually hearing each other? 

I’m seeing a lot of people online questioning the women’s march with regard to “what good is it doing?”… “Quit your belly-aching – your candidate lost, so just deal with it”… another person who I consider to be a friend said “Marching with signs and creative hashtags don’t make real changes. DO SOMETHING!!”

Do something. 

That’s the point, right? The marches that happened worldwide (not just in our backyard) were a gathering of like-minded people to show solidarity for HUMAN rights (women, yes, but not exclusively). They DID something that day that is pretty remarkable. It’s not a contest for which event within two days had a higher attendance. Anyone getting caught-up in that rhetoric is completely missing the point.

I think it’s part “stop being so negative” / “just get on board already”… and part “stop talking, start doing” from those who feel like they aren’t personally affected. They’d appreciate a flip of the switch to our social media spaces going back to being all cat videos and pretty pictures, but just like their platform is a place to say this, it’s also a platform to try and initiate action.

What action? 

Personally, what I’m most interested in, isn’t bashing individuals or comparing this to that. I’m interested in holding on to rights that so many people have fought so hard for all these years. A friend of Hispanic descent posted this morning that no president has ever changed his life. Now, while he’s a minority, he is a man. He went to private school. He also has a brother and sister who are gay… One of which could potentially be “unmarried” with the newest supreme court justice. He thinks we’re getting too caught up in what the new president says–that we should just ignore it, and there’s no real risk there because what he says and does are two different things (it’s just “fear-based ideology”).

The risk is real. 

I’ve been waffling between wanting to hide my head in the sand and not watch the trainwreck, and speaking up — like with this post. I never get political on Facebook, but felt compelled this morning to engage in the conversations. I’m not sure yet exactly how I’m going to try and make a difference other than signing petitions, and trying to explain what the movement is in ways those who are threatened (or don’t understand) can

understand. But it’s a start.

I’m so proud of, and impressed by, those women AND men who marched on Saturday. Sometimes just showing up is enough, but plenty of them spent a TON of time preparing for the day. Whether you appreciated their “clever” signs and hashtags or not, at least they took some literal steps to try and not just improve women’s rights, but also to voice they’d like to help preserve some human rights.

It’s worth mentioning this day was a start of something new–those who showed up are now feeling empowered to do something when they get home, so January 21 wasn’t “it.”

And it’s not just about ranting about one powerful man with whom you disagree, or being mad your candidate wasn’t elected. It’s about all sorts of rights that are on their way to being overturned. Just this morning Trump signed an executive order withdrawing funds to international organizations if they provide safe abortions. No matter your religious views, this is obviously one of the most contentious things — access to services that have to do with reproductive rights. These rights have been in place on the federal level for 44 years for a reason.

It’s not just complaining. 

To those who wish everyone would just quit their complaining, I say it’s highly likely you won’t have your marriage overturned. Or lose your health coverage. Or need services to do with reproductive rights. But what about your daughter or your sister-in-law? There are so many issues involved, but I just wanted to make a point…

There’s a lot at stake, so folks (not just women) are trying to be heard. It’s a reality that this executive order was put forth today, and more like it can happen, so speaking up is the only power we have as CITIZENS to try and change that.

We aren’t trying to threaten anyone else’s way of life or rights to believe a certain way. One-by-one, in their own individual ways, many are doing what they can to keep rights we have in tact, and not lose others… oh, and perhaps also trying to even the playing field while we’re at it.

One step at a time.

Insight from a Former Event Industry Sales Person

When I worked in sales I never really felt like a sales person. I always felt like I was helping people – because I was – I never ever tried to sell anyone something I didn’t think would benefit them. This was an internal struggle for me… I was building relationships that turned into business–people I met face-to-face gave me the chance to bid. As soon as someone made me feel like a salesperson, a chill would run through me and make me wonder why I was doing it.

Buyers have a tendency to do that from time-to-time — to treat suppliers as less than. I’ve never understood why. Until now.

Now, I’ll preface this by saying everyone should remain KIND, no matter what. I have remained kind, but through what I’ve experienced as a buyer this past week, I feel like the fundamentals of sales are gone… Five different sales people were the offenders of the following challenges I ran into recently.

Unsolicited Inquiries are a Gift 
If you get an email with a request for a quote, respond to it as soon as humanly possible. Shouldn’t the requestor know right away their message has been received? Even if an email only says “Thank you for your inquiry. We’ll get to work on this, and reach out with questions.” Boom. Right away, it turns out, anyone who did that instantly had a better chance than the others. Inbound sales is a gift, and should be treated as such, despite how busy we all are. I shouldn’t have to email again inquiring whether you actually want to bid on the business.

Being Given a Budget is Also a Gift 
As someone who almost NEVER got a budget when I was selling, it’s magical when you get that number. There’s more than one way to do things, so having a number to start from will help you steer the project in the right direction. If I don’t have a two-story booth kind of budget, you should know that. Telling me what I’m asking for will be $6-8K more than my budget without even asking me any questions? Big mistake. Back-and-forth email messages without asking me anything of substance related to my request? It’s short-sighted, and you will likely lose the opportunity.

Differentiate Yourself with a Phone Call 
The same salesperson who didn’t email me back for four days claimed he had been doing some work on it, and was sorry he hadn’t checked in with me yet. I indicated if he had any questions for me I was available to talk. Instead, he sent me an email back with three questions. The first person I spoke to — the very next day after my email went out — instantly had an advantage because we clicked. All things being equal, we’re more likely to go with the supplier who we know we get along with, right?

If you do call the prospect, be sure you understand the request before you do.

Prime example… 
I sent an email asking for a quote, and they sent me an email reply indicating another sales person would be in touch with me (he’s copied on the email). Later that day the salesperson left me a voicemail about the inquiry. I called him back the next day and got voicemail, but his voicemail doesn’t include his name, so I left no message. He called me back right away saying “I just had a missed call from this number”… He had no idea who I was.

So, I awkwardly gave detail on who I am, and he replies with “Oh, right. How can I help you?” I then had to indicate “All my needs were in my original email; I assumed you were calling me because you needed more information.” To which he says “Oohhhh, okay, well I’m not in the office right now, so I’ll need to take a closer look at the email, and I’ll let you know if I have any questions.” My response? Absolute wonder. 
We’re in a Visual Business — Include Visuals 
One of the suppliers sent me tons of visuals over a few different email messages. I expected to eventually get a consolidated proposal with all the pricing in one place, but I didn’t. I did get a quote with the numbers (with errors that had to be corrected twice), but I never got it all in one nice package. You should make it as easy as possible for your prospects to pick you. I was trying to help her by telling her what I needed, but she just didn’t get it. The other two just sent me numbers, and never sent me any visuals until I asked more than once!

Bottom-Line — These Things are Bare Minimum
Being communicative once you’ve been given an opportunity to win business is crucial! I helped an event planner colleague review three audio-visual bids not too long ago, and it was remarkable how different the quotes were. One thing they all had was great visuals. What ended up winning the business for one company was they were the only ones who actually took the time to call the end client and ask them questions about their show! Insanity. Even if you don’t think you have questions, ask questions – make the call.

Are there any other things you think sales folks should keep in mind? If you’re in sales — is there anything I’ve touched a nerve on?

P.S. When I asked one of them for the shipping and handling fees that were missing from his quote, he said he “figured one of the other bidders had already given me a quote, and it’s all going to be similar if they’re bidding on the same stuff.” One word: lazy.

Are You Mad About Slow Organic Growth on Facebook?

If you’re a marketer who is managing business pages in Facebook, the answer is absolutely yes (in the past three plus years). Okay, mad might not be the right word… Frustrated? Bummed? Yep. But I have some great news!

Facebook has been tweaking things in ways that really help us with organic growth. Here I explore the latest ways they’re helping.

6 ways Facebook business pages are great for location-based business organic growth

  1. Patrons often geo-tag their Facebook photos, whether they’re tying to “check-in” or not. This means the admins for the page get a notification Facebook restaurant check-inEVERY time someone posts a photo or indicates they were at your establishment.
    Which means? You have an opportunity to THANK them for visiting your establishment! This is a chance to bolster that relationship, and hopefully a way to make their visit with you even more memorable (so they’ll be more likely to come back). There’s a surprise & delight element here that shouldn’t be overlooked.
    Note: For whatever reason, if they comment again or like your response comment, you will NOT get a notification on that! Go back from time to time and see if there’s even more interaction (like “The meal was delicious!”).
  2. These same patrons are then prompted by Facebook to “Like” your page!Facebook business page like
    Which means? Your follower growth is growing organically, simply because of this change by Facebook. While this is a vanity metric, there’s an awesome change that came up recently (covered later in this post) that makes this even more awesome.
  3. Patrons and guests of patrons who were tagged in a photo are then again prompted within a day or so to write a REVIEW for the business!
    Which means? The number of reviews your business receives will go way up. Chances are not guaranteed (of course), but are likely that the review will be favorable. Fewer people will post to social if they’ve had a bad time or didn’t like the business.
  4. Friends of all of these patrons are also more likely to see their photos and posts, getting a glimpse into the business… and perhaps they’ll become a fan too? Also, friends of people who follow your page who have liked your posts see that activity.
    Which means? They then might like your post too! If you look to see the list of WHO is liking your stuff, Facebook now enables you to invite (non-Facebook business post likefans) to like your page right there! It works – I did it this week (see image to the right), and now I have a new, engaged fan.
  5. Live location is now in Messenger. It’s an easy way to share your location with friends and family. You can choose whether to share it continuously for an hour or as one static share. Which means? It’s another way for your business to get exposure.
  6. Search has been expanded in Facebook. Another great feature for local businesses is the way search works now. If you’re going to a city like San Diego where you know friends of yours have been, you can search “Visited by friends.” Which means? We all know we trust our friends more than advertising, and this will help your organic reach for local businesses!

The check-in notifications and review prompts are not brand new, but worth adding to your strategy. Do you have someone on your team who is responding to all these posts? If the answer is no, it’s worth considering the benefits.

Expanded search

In this example I searched on “global meetings industry day 2017,” and it defaulted to “Posts from Friends,” but gave me a chance to narrow the search.

Local businesses have the opportunity to have more posts seen in this way.

COMING Soon: Facebook is currently testing an even further expanded search, which will enable you to search “nearby restaurants,” and get reviews along with it. They appear to be moving in on Yelp’s territory (no complaints here!). As TechCrunch states in this article, “ ‘A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed the feature saying, “We’re testing a new way to discover where to go and what to do around you.’ ”

Awesome change to Facebook business pages

I recently liked a page on Facebook — my friend’s new business, Fredericksburg Cupcake — and I began getting notifications for it every time they posted. This was a first for me!

I wasn’t seeing it in my feed, but seeing this green image in my notifications is something I had never seen before. It perplexed me, so I set out investigating! It turns out this is a promoted post, which you can use to target specific demographics. Seeing this in notifications versus serving it up in the feed was new for me. I’d be interested to hear if your experience with this feature is different.

When you “like” a page, you are automatically “following” them. In following them, you can also control what you see.

Bonus tip

You probably noticed that sometimes you get a pop-up when someone responds to a post you’ve initiated or commented on. They’re calling it a “tab,” but when something pops-up, that’s what I call it! If you’d like to make it stop, here’s how.

Go to the very bottom right-corner of the Facebook browser window, and click the gear icon. The click Turn Off Post Tabs. Done!


Some of this might not be “new” news to you, but after several conversations I had at Social Media Marketing World from people interested in how I do social for restaurants, I thought it was worth the share. I also learned of more additions as I was writing the post.

Facebook continues to be an ever-evolving, ever-frustrating, but EVER-essential tool for all of us to use! I really like the changes they’re making for local businesses to reduce the frustration with organic growth on Facebook.

While it’s important to keep up on these updates, it’s just as important to use them to your advantage. It’s also crucial to keep up on engaging with the visitors that are engaging with you. If they include their (aka, YOUR) location in your post, they’re doing you a huge favor. Reward them for it by acknowledging them!

And… If you don’t have the time or the staff, it’s worth reviewing where time should be spent with your social. Please reach out to me if you’d like help with your local business marketing!


We need to port our blog over from Blogspot! Here’s loads of a variety of writing…


Just Jump

It’s been a really interesting seven months for me both personally and professionally. In September I was struck with the sudden reality that my parents will not always be in my life. Of course, I knew this already, but when you learn your Mom is being tested for lung cancer, it puts that reality right in front of you. And it sparks a whole current of change.

Then learning she’s terminal, and that Dad’s dementia is worse than we knew? Devastating. Of course, the weeks and months that followed have been really, really hard, with a ton of change for everyone in the family. A tremendous amount of loss.

Concurrently, my business has been doing really well. For more than 2.5 years I’ve had a marketing consulting business — a sole proprietorship that’s been steady. I’ve had a couple of peaks, but it’s mostly been consistent. Then suddenly in the span of four weeks this spring I had four separate inquiries and referrals for new business. Now, there are only so many hours in a day, so this pushed me to decide whether to take on new business and hire (previous contractors) to work for me on a regular basis.

Next level. I didn’t intend on having a corporation, but helping new businesses tackle their marketing and communication challenges, and growing my company, became a really interesting concept! I love a challenge, and new clients bring with them new opportunities to grow both mentally and financially.

43 Meter Jump… 141+ Feet!

So I jumped. There’s irony in the timing, too, because I just realized today is the one year anniversary of my first bungy jump off the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand — the birthplace of the bungy. A metaphor for how I’ve chosen to approach life in general, and now also in business. With the bungy decision I didn’t think about “what if something goes wrong?” I just knew it would be exhilarating, and that would be the payoff.

I’ve filed incorporation papers! I’ve hired a graphic designer to create a real logo and assets for me! I’m putting all the pieces in place that will support a successful business, including hiring staff, and shopping for admin tools we should be using. This. Is. Real.

Exciting times! And terrifying. And exhilarating! And uncertain. But that’s all part of the adventure–if I don’t jump, I’ll never know. I’ve written before about being a “doer”… Which is a touch different than jumping into the unknown. The only way to stretch ourselves, and see where it will take us is to jump.

It’s not about having no fear, but considering “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” It might not work out the way I’m envisioning, but if I don’t try I’ll never know. It’s important to own the fear, but to do it anyway. Because it might just be the best choice I’ve ever made.

I’ve para-glided in Switzerland. I’ve skydived in San Diego. I’ve bungy-jumped in New Zealand. And now I’ve incorporated. Mom would be really proud. Let’s do this!!!

In case you’d like to see the jump video (complete w/gleeful scream)… CLICK HERE

Change is Certain… And Painful

Three words I never thought I’d say: Mom is terminal.

Three crushing words. I can start crying at any given moment. It’s amazing how many things make me think of her and how my life will never be the same again.

I’m in a unique spot, being the youngest of nine children… And still single with no children to boot–no family of my own. Going home for holidays has been everything to me. Whenever anyone has asked me “Are you going to San Jose for <fill in the holiday>?” My answer has always been “yes, of course.” Because, really, what else would I do? Now I find myself dreading the holidays ahead. Dreading the thought of no longer having “my place” to go and that support system that has always been at 1124.  I know I’m welcome in my friend’s and family member’s homes, but it isn’t the same.

Seeing my Mom decline so quickly is dreadful. I know she doesn’t want to be a burden on us, but I wish I could do more. It’s just something you can never imagine going through. At moments feeling like it isn’t real… and others feeling it is TOO real.

Don’t ever take your parents or your family members for granted because you never know how much time you have, regardless of their age.

Role Reversal

Not sure not the exact moment that the roles reversed. In a small way it happened years ago when my parents no longer knew more than I did. Then memory starts becoming an issue… Little things along the way have shown me that I needed to learn a patience I never really had before. 

And then there’s the health issues – the day when you find yourself taking them to the hospital. When you’re making sure they are eating properly. It’s tough. 

I imagine it’s tough on them too. I know they don’t want to be a burden because my mom told me so. Burden isn’t the right word, but the reality is that they have grown old. And they have been sick. My dad cognitively isn’t doing well, which makes it tough on Mom. I wonder if he has moments where he feels different? Inadequate? I hope not. 

I don’t have any children of my own, but now we’re basically in charge of them. Of their health. Their well-being. And for me it comes with a deep sadness on many levels. This is the only family I have, and this is the beginning of where it all changes. 

It happens in most families, so this isn’t any shocking revelation or anything… But it sucks. A lot. So there it is. 

Do Work That Excites You

When I get asked what I’m about professionally I say I’m passionate about events and marketing, and particularly how communication manifests itself between the two. I’ve worked in sales and marketing since 1998 (prior to that I was a technical writer), and through the work I did from 2006-2012 I grew the most personally and professionally because of my work in live events… I grew primarily because of the people in the industry with whom I built relationships, and because of all the work that went into the events that I planned and sold — not to mention the thrill of seeing an event come to life after SO MUCH work being put into the planning (more on that later!).

I’ve been working as a marketing consultant for the past two years. What does that mean? I help companies with any facet of marketing they need help with. I’ve developed sponsorship packages for an association, developed social media strategies for startups, provided technical advisement & Website development for an event planning company, managed community for three restaurants (all social communication and reputation management), executed marketing strategies, and developed blogs. If it involves marketing, I’m in!

Okay, so I’m not always in. I’ve learned the power of saying no. Saying no to taking on too much work… And to individuals or companies I had an inkling might not be a good fit. It was terrifying and empowering at the same time.

When I met my client Tommy Melancon to chat about his new venture EventCollab, I knew right away that I wanted to get involved. Planning events is an incredibly involved process. Events have planners, venues, producers, graphic designers, social media marketers, sponsors, exhibitors, audio-visual equipment providers (sales people, account managers, project managers), event producers (sometimes also the AV co.), freelancers, volunteers… and on. Making sure all of these people are collaborating efficiently is something we’ve all been trying to do forever. EventCollab excited me because it was a solution to a problem I knew existed–a problem I have experienced first-hand. There had to be a better way.

How many times do you have difficulty following an email trail that’s been going around-and-around? Keeping track of what the latest schedule is, and who still has what to do for the event? It’s exhausting. Most of the event management apps that are out there (more than 100) are attendee-facing apps dealing with registration, scheduling, speaker management, etc., but there are very few providing the ability to have logistics and planning pieces under one roof. The solution under the EventCollab roof is fantastic! I sincerely wish I had a program like this when I was working in event production. The opportunity to collaborate with my clients in this way leading up to a show would have been a dream.

I have the choice in who I work with, and I’m truly excited to be working with EventCollab. Working with a start-up being funded by someone who is still running his event production co. (EventCollab was created out of necessity because nothing else existed like it when they began development) is a challenge. And marketing a product that’s not really in competition yet with another product (there are few that exist, and they are very different) is also a challenge — we’re basically competing with “the same old way” everyone has been doing things… So we’re tasked with challenging the events industry to perhaps step outside of their comfort zone.

Getting out of our comfort zones can be hard at first, but in this case the payoff will be more collaborative and efficient teams, which will save money in the long run, and make planning repeat events more seamless. The potential excites me!

I hope the work you’re doing excites you also. Doing what you enjoy, with people you like, in a way that satisfies you will feed your soul. I’ve been told that I’ve never seemed happier, which is a direct result of following my gut, and only working with people and products that I believe in.

If you’re an #eventprof, you need to give EventCollab a whirl – challenge yourself to do it better. For real.

Check EC out on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+… We love giving demos! Click here for the Website

Has Social Media Made us Less Connected?

This notion is not new. Ever since social media emerged, we’ve heard that “we’ve never been so well connected, and yet so out of touch with each other.” Communication studies focus on all different aspects of this. More studies are trying to prove it’s improved our lives, but I’ve had some really interesting conversations recently, so I thought I’d post about it.

A few thoughts to explore…
1. Are we truly connected because of social media, and are you not being honest if you don’t share everything?
2. Is it a good or bad thing that people mostly only share the good stuff?
3. Has live-streaming (Periscope, Meerkat, Blab) changed the game on our ability to truly connect in real-time socially (putting the “social” in social media)?

Honesty (1): In the “beginning” it was so amazing to be connected to people I hadn’t seen in YEARS—first on LinkedIn with former co-workers, and then on Facebook with people I’ve been friends with throughout life. I’ve seen people face-to-face on business trips who I had been reunited with online, and I’ve continued friendships online that I developed in my travels… And it’s been awesome!

But after a while the shiny element wore off a bit, and it turned to some people sharing everything about their everyday lives. Is there such a thing as being too authentic? I’m not discounting people who share things that aren’t awesome, but are you being honest, and is what you’re sharing adding any value to your follower’s lives (or your own)? I don’t know the answer… But I do know that many of my friends who have been on Facebook are certainly interacting MUCH less than they used to, and some have abandoned it all together. The reasons vary, but I think it’s mostly because they grew tired of the over-sharing or extreme opinions that are different from their own.

I travel a bit, and it got to a point that people made me feel like I was bragging by posting photos of my travels. Their comments may have been in gest, but like most jokes, there’s a motivation there. This caused me to not want to share – but when I told some people that I was holding back, they got mad about it! I know I have some people who want to live vicariously through me, and I enjoy sharing, but I also want my family to know I’m safe (I often travel solo). 

There’s a delusion of connectedness that many of us have… People will tell me when I haven’t seen them for a while that they feel like “they’re all caught up on my life” or that they “see me traveling all over”… And they feel like we’re truly connected because of that. Most of these people proclaim to be lurkers, saying “I just read on Facebook—I don’t like or interact on there.” So, really, they’re only caught up on what I’ve posted that I’ve been doing, and not on ME as a person. AND, this communication has only been one-way. I don’t share everything, and Facebook photos and posts don’t define who I am. They’re fun updates, but they certainly don’t serve as a replacement for spending time face-to-face with my friends and family.

The Good Stuff (2): Facebook is an incredible environment for empathy. I truly believe it’s an environment where people who need it can post and get heartfelt responses from their friends and family. Hopefully it doesn’t back-fire if they don’t get the responses they hope for (FB algorithms constantly changing and all–we don’t see everything). Personally, I choose to not post much about being blue. I have posted when something crazily irritating has happened (luggage being stuck in my taxi’s trunk when on my way OUT of town for the biggest meeting of my career comes to mind!), or when I’m super mad about a customer service issue or something (Verizon). Of course, we’re all individual in our choices.

When my brother Terry passed away I chose to take a couple of days, and then I wrote a blog post. I posted the blog link on Facebook, but I didn’t make a big declaration. I’m not saying it’s bad if you do because everyone has their own journey. My life isn’t all butterflies and unicorns, but does it appear like I’m not portraying my authentic life if I don’t post the good *and* the bad? What are the limits?

Do you feel more connected to people who share the good and the bad, or does it not matter? 

Live-Connectivity(3): I watched a recording of a Blab recently that spoke to the fact that authenticity is now more important than ever in light of the emergence of live-streaming. If you’ve been putting forth a personality or demeanor online that isn’t in line with your true self, you’re sure to be “busted” once you enter the foray of live-streaming.

On a talk show last week Jason Sudeikis said he doesn’t really tweet because  “I, uh, like to tweet in person,” to which the host said “Oh, so you prefer conversations – nice!” I’m inclined right off to say “Don’t we all?” But the reality is everyone isn’t comfortable networking in person with people they don’t know, or putting themselves live on video, whether recorded or live-streaming. This was one of the most interesting angles on communication that I enjoyed in my grad school program… So many people are more communicative and open online because they’re more comfortable behind the computer, but the research varies on whether the same things can be accomplished online that can be accomplished face-to-face.

The results of my thesis on the subject uncovered that people feel a combination of online and face-to-face communication is the best solution as it relates to events. Because there is true value in both, I think live-streaming does a great job of marrying the two. On Blab we’re “face-to-face” with the four people who are in the video squares, and the platform provides the ability to allow different people to pop in and out, giving their input, along with interacting with them in the chat stream.

I think the live-streaming environment provides the chance to get to know people more on a personal level (putting the “social” in social media), but it’s probably not something friends will use to stay connected because of the publicness. As it evolves more and more it will be interesting to see what people use it for both in business and personal life.

What do you think? Should we filter ourselves in what we’re posting? Everyone is going to use social media in different ways, and everyone gets different value from the interactions we have on there. I personally do think our lives ARE richer as a result of social, but we need to remember to have REAL social interactions with our friends and family—and we shouldn’t assume we “know it all” because of the information we’ve learned from Facebook… There is surely MORE to know and learn about how we’re all doing, and not just WHAT we’re doing.

We can be truly connected in real life, and online.