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A Look Back and Looking Forward

Last year brought many new experiences my way, several of which consumed my attention and threw me off the content creation course (writing).  I can think of two things that have significantly impacted my life for the better even though my goal of being a more proactive writer became distant.  For starters, I’ve been really enjoying being a father. You’d be surprised just how much time it takes, but every minute of it worth it.  This year my wife and I celebrated our daughters first birthday; and have witnessed so many more of her milestones.  All this as she grows into her larger than life personality, what a ride it’s been thus far.  We’re also excited to welcome a second Renno baby into the world this June. Excited for what the addition to the family will bring but now the parents team and kids team will be at equal strength. Only time will tell who has practiced more.

Second I had the opportunity to take on new roles within my career journey this year.  This summer I took on a role in Chicago, kick starting the organization’s first official social media department and helping to develop and implement several social business ideas across the enterprise.  I wanted to pause a moment and recognize all of you that helped me to achieve this opportunity.  There are far to are too many to call out individually; but confident in the fact that the tremendous support shown by the Milwaukee Twitter community and significant increase in local brand recognition they helped me to achieve, aided in paving the way.  Later in the year as our organization’s social efforts grew, so did the need for additional headcount.  It was during this period of departmental growth, I was afforded the opportunity to lead the social media team and program for the business.  I am grateful for this new team and tremendously excited for the skill sets they bring to the table, as together we’ll be able to accomplish so much more.

As we move into the New Year I feel more grounded, more thoughtful, and more open minded to new ideas than ever before.  I am continuously learning both personally and professionally from those around me and through the relationships I have made with all of you.  For this I am forever grateful.  Twenty Twelve brings about another change, made possible by a good friend of mine Phil Gerbyshak.  His thought leadership and digital experience has helped me to expand the way I think about the social / digital space, as well as helped to breathe new life into my own little corner of the web.  Thank you for taking the time, sharing your knowledge, and above all being a good friend.

This year I am looking forward to sharing new thoughts and ideas with all of you.  I am looking forward to asking more questions, seeking different opinions and challenging the status quo.  I look forward to learning more and perhaps even teaching at times.  I look forward to making the time to connect with more people and build new relationships. I look forward to giving more time to my growing family.  Along the way, I look forward to sharing my reflections with you.

*Photo Credit*

The Tuesday Twitter Challenge

If you really think about it, why did you join a social network?  Chances are it’s that you had a desire to connect with friends, family, colleagues, or even meet new people that could bring value to your life.  I too joined the various social media tools for this very reason, but have noticed a shift in the way they have been used as of late that is cause for concern, specifically Twitter.  In my opinion Twitter was created as an easy way to share content, receive information, and establish a valuable online community of connections; but what good is that network if we don’t continue to maintain it, engage with it, and expand it.

It is all to easy to get caught up in the clique mentality, which I can assure you defeats the purpose of what these tools are all about.

It is this slight shift in my observations that has motivated me to send out a challenge to all of you.  A challenge to do things differently and encourage others to do likewise.  A challenge to promote inclusion and network growth so that all feel welcome and valued, in an effort to maintain a healthy online ecosystem that looks out for its new or less visible members just like it does its “gurus”, “experts”, and “ninjas”.

Tuesday Twitter Challenge

  • Connect with two new people and two new businesses on twitter within your city – expand your network, let new people and ideas in. Work hard to encourage chat and discussion with others outside of your usual circles today.
  • Reach out via twitter to a retailer or restaurant that you’ve had a positive experience at. Tell them what you liked! Nothing would mean more to them that to hear this feedback from you. Think about the other impacts this could have to their business. Chances are that one or many of your followers will be more inclined to visit their establishment. This is “word of mouth” advertising at its finest (the best form of advertising a business could receive) and we have the power to help!
  • Introduce two contacts in your network to one another that have not met yet.  In the introduction, advise each of them why you feel they would benefit from this connection. They may have never found each other with out your efforts to bring them together.
  • Let’s track this thing! It would be interesting to see what kind of impact we can have locally, and Hashtag all of the tweets that spawn from the Tuesday Twitter Challenge.  Tag each tweet with #TUTC so we can measure its reach for fun.

The challenge is simple really, it was never meant to be difficult.  Simply use Twitter the way it was indented for such as sharing content, receiving information, and developing valuable new connections. Step outside of your comfort zone, commit to trying something new, even if it’s just for today.  Take the Tuesday Twitter Challenge.

Motivated to Move Forward

For some time now I have wanted to create a space to share ideas and interests, yet I have always come up with an excuse on why I couldn’t.  Not enough time, too much work, so many personal responsibilities, the list could go on; yet all of these were just imaginary hurdles that I needed a push to jump over.  Today I received that push and gentle guidance that has enabled me to see what this space could be.  I credit my first visit to #MKELikemind at Bucketworks in Milwaukee and a compelling speech from Jim Raffel, a local small business CEO,  in regards to blogging and building your personal brand.

Once of my biggest hurdles was a question really.  What are the impacts of combining personal thoughts in a blog that contains professional insights as well?  This question was answered for me today, and I guess one could argue on a stance either for or against it.  The light came on for me in a sense that all the ideas I will share over time are all my own viewpoints, be them personal or professional.  Now I would agree that one should approach the combination of both professional and personal posts with the highest in tactfulness.   I am passionate about all of the ideas I write about, they make up who I am.  Why would I leave any of it out?

For some time now I have enjoyed this quote from Henry Ford in my business life: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!”  Today it had additional significance for me personally.  All too often we focus on why we can’t do something (insert your reason here).  I have decided that in regards to creating my digital space; one which will serve up thoughts on the customer experience, personal milestones, and life’s shenanigans, I can.

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