Posts filed under ‘Experience This?’

How Your Childhood Olympic Dream Can Still Come True

Defining Greatness

When I was a kid, playdoh was great. Dancing around in a tutu making cookies was greater. And Lilia Podkopayeva was greatness. Podkopayeva, overlooked by many due to the gold medal win by the Magnificent Seven by the USA, was from Ukraine. And she won the individual Olympic all-around gold in women’s gymnastics at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She was my superstar.

As a child, I loved the Olympics, and still do. A hardcore competitive gymnast growing up, I attended the ’96 games (as an observer) where I saw Podkopayeva achieve what I thought was the unreachable and untouchable – greatness. In this case, that meant the gold. Seeing both Podkopayeva and the USA women’s team both capture gold medals, I hoped to follow in their footsteps.

Re-Defining Greatness

Like any girl after ’96, my dream for Olympic greatness quadrupled, and my love for the sport escalated. I cut out every single news clipping from women’s gymnastics coverage in Atlanta and plastered my room in posters, photos and news clippings. You could say it was a Mag Seven Heaven.

Overlooked by the Mag Seven by many, Podkopayeva was a combination of grace, style, elegance and talent. My favorite coach even nicknamed me “Mini-Lilia” because he thought we looked alike, and had similar talent: grace and style.

However, fast forward 12 years, and I will never receive an Olympic gold medal, but I still reach for my Olympic dream in the horizon – greatness. And so can you.

Infecting Greatness

Every four years, athletes converge together to compete for world titles, Olympic golds, world records and – greatness. But, each of us maintains the home court advantage. We can achieve greatness in our own communities, everyday. Though I’m no longer conditioning, flipping and twisting on the apparatus’, I like to think that I’m still developing my craft – all the while growing in grace and evolving my style.

For what is greatness? As a kid, a gold-medal gymnast defined greatness. For me today, people who live with conviction define greatness. People doing the work that no one else want do = greatness. The single mother working two jobs to give her child a better life, is greatness I only hope I can mimic. As we grow, how we define greatness evolves. Today, my ‘greatness’ role-model is my mom. It’s also my dad. Nedra Weinreich. Andre Blackman. Kivi Leroux Miller. Beth Kanter. Marc @ Osocio. Mike Newton-Ward. Stephen Dann. The Unsung Hero.

See, these are ordinary people, and they are infecting greatness everyday. I only hope that one day I can join their team, and we together, as a team, can achieve greatness. For greatness, just depends on how you define it.

**************

“There are countless ways of attaining greatness, but any road to reaching one’s maximum potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, and a rejection of mediocrity.”

Buck Rodgers, American Baseball Player 1938

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August 13, 2008 at 4:33 am 4 comments

Unlock Your Inner Batman

Everyday, I venture out into my day with a healthy dose of idealism. I like to believe that people are good, and I work to see the good in people, even when most difficult.

This is why I struggled with the Batman movie: The Dark Knight. I love Batman. I grew up watching the tv series with jumping bananas Batman and Robin.

Batman/Bruce Wayne is an ordinary man. The joker is an ordinary man. Two face is an ordinary man. Gordon is an ordinary man. Yet, Gotham is havocked by crime and despair. The movie paints Gotham (as it should according to plot) as a very bleak and dismal city.

I walked away from the movie with a heavy heart, searching for optimism. These weren’t superheroes who ravaged a city and killed for pleasure. Just men. These weren’t superheroes whose hearts were hardened by bitterness, anger and unfair circumstances, but fellow, ordinary, human beings.

Indeed, the Joker, as Batman and Gordon state, got the best of them by showing that even a great man, Gotham’s White Knight, Harvey Dent, can be hardened.

I walked out of the theater finding it hard not to be hardened as well. All the work we do in social marketing, nonprofits, social change…where’s it all going and what’s it doing? What’s the solution? How do we inspire others not to let their hearts become hardened?

Though I left the movie more torn about life’s deeper issues than I have in a long time, I refused to be give in. Instead, I see it as a new challenge to rise above and as a community, address and solve. For Batman was an ordinary man. So was Gordon. and Alfred. and Mother Teresa. Ghandi. Martin Lurther King, Jr.

Perhaps the reality is, is that we ALL have a little Batman inside of us, just waiting to melt the world.

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July 28, 2008 at 2:17 am 3 comments

What’s Your Social Media Ritual? Sharing My Own 15-Steps

fireworks

At work, we’ve been talking a lot about the information scans we all do on our own…who we refer to, which sites are the best, the most useful feeds, etc. So, now, out of curiosity and from inspiration gained from Chris Brogan’s recent post: “Where I Learn More,” I’m asking: Where do you go to learn?

Brogan’s article is great, as in it, he talks about the role of influence and asks us to reflect on what influences what we learn, think, behave and believe….so close to a social marketing (the real social marketing) question my buttons were popping with techy-excitement.

Here is my average, daily, social media ritual.

Please share me yours, and perhaps we can both expand our horizons a little. =)

  1. Check my work e-mail account. Its true fellow co-workers.
  2. Check my regular Gmail account. I get various e-newsletters and feeds here such as the Ad Council Creative E-newsletter, emails from the Social Marketing listserv, Chris Brogan’s new e-newsletter and others.
  3. Check my blog email account. I get various e-newsletter and feeds here that help me stay up to date on the social media, nonprofit, and social marketing arena. Some of my favorite includes Nedra Weinreich’s Spare Change Blog, Beth Kanter’s blog/wiki, and Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence blog.
  4. Check my Bloglines feeds, to see what good posts are up and published.
  5. Check out both the nonprofit and the social media categories on Alltop.com
  6. Do a scan of: TechCrunch, Trendspotting, Read Write Web, Osocio, Non-Profit Times, NextGov, BrazenCareerist, Social Times, and others. This can depend on the day and the topic I’m currently investigating.
  7. Check old Twitter feeds I may have missed. Especially key feeds from @GeoffLiving, @Nedra, @chrisbrogan, @scobleizer, @rww, @abfdc, @allllll the others I follow on Twitter. Really, it’s a community working together and sharing. It. is. awesome.
  8. If it’s a Monday, I check out the Carnival for Non-Profit Consultants.
  9. Check in on Linkedin to see if anyone new I know has joined or connected. The homepage on Linkedin is becoming increasingly fun.
  10. Surf around the NonProfit Blog Exchange if Emily has posted some great new posts.
  11. Then, it’s on to the social bookmarks. I check my delicious, both my networks and my subscriptions. Oftentimes, those I am connected to are in a similar field or have similar interests, so thank you everyone on del.icio.us.
  12. Then, I spend a little time on Digg, and may occasionally check in on StumbleUpon. I’m really liking Mixx more and more too, though, there doesn’t seem to be as many people on it.
  13. I check up on the scoop of my work’s internal wiki.
  14. Check meetup.com for upcoming events and opportunities to take online connecting –> offline.
  15. More scooping that I probably, and I apologize, didn’t list. Though, if I remember more, I will place in the comments. There’s always MORE to learn and MORE resources to discover. =)

Important note to make: This is just the listening phase.

About the listening phase. I might do some or all of this ritual depending on the day and the time. The point is though, that my ritual is…I am always listening. Always checking in. Always asking questions. Always working to seek answers.

The FUN part, is taking it all in, reflecting, and creatively organizing the content and information in your head to implement innovative, effective communications. And, when I really want to *get wild,* I reflect further, beyond the field of communications, social media or marketing…but more to what Chris mentions, about influence. About change. About society. About trends. About what it all means.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Elias Pirasteh


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June 29, 2008 at 4:06 am 9 comments

Internet Addiction: Self-Test to Balance Work, Life and the Internet

Having a professional job in online marketing, as well as an online hobby, this blog, I am constantly working to keep my internet usage/exposure at check. Today, I thought maybe others could relate…especially when I overheard a couple teens talking on the metro on my way home about this very issue. Thus, I did a little search (is it ironic?) on the internet.

I came across the Center for Internet Addiction Recorvery, which has been treating internet addiction since 1995. The Center offers numerous downloads, resources and materials for groups broken down into therapists, lawyers, business, and then parents and schools. The Center recently launched it’s new blog, which is full of interesting information. From a brief glance, I read:

  • A debate about if internet addiction is really….real
  • that Korea is becoming the most addicted to the internet
  • about a case where a man died from playing Stargate for 50 straight hours
  • how the internet can cause marital problems of neglect (let alone affairs/adult content issues)

The most interesting part of this site, were the self-tests the Center offers. The most interesting is the IAT, Internet Addiction Test which is the supposed first validated and reliable test to measure internet addiction.

Go for it. Take the test and let us know what me know what you think. The questions alone helped me figure new ways to gauge my own internet dosage.

And, it got me thinking…if internet addiction is real, as it is currently being considered to be a new clinical disorder, I think that possibly, it goes beyond the individual’s responsibility to possibly us as whole. As a social media marketer…this definitely makes me think more about the services we are creating, that we are creating purposeful content.


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June 20, 2008 at 5:25 pm 2 comments

Food Marketing and Kids – Always A Popular Topic

The mix of food marketing and ethics when it comes to advertising to children tends to always be a popular topic on the social marketing list serv. And, the topic pops up every once and a while in the news too.

If you have been following this issue, and honestly, I have been following it some, but I don’t claim to be an expert on it. So, I’m curious to get others’ thoughts.

Food. Children. Marketing. Advertising. Social Marketing. Ethics. –> Please share your thoughts in the comments. I am providing some questions as prompts, and will post again a summary of the responses and what I discover.

Cases

Last spring and summer, there was much ado about Shrek and his character endorsing various unhealthy food products.

Again, there was a response when McDonald’s advertised by sponsoring report cards and giving achieving students special McDonald offers.

Articles

Fundamental Shift in Making and Marketing Snacks to Kids, MarketingProfs June 11, 200

Sweet Surrender, Washington Post, May 22, 2008

Junk Food Marketing Linked to Child Obesity, Lancaster Farming, May 23, 2008

Shrek: He’s Big, Green and Promoting Junk Food, MSNBC, April 25, 2007

Feel free to leave links to more articles/cases in the comments =) I know there’s a ton of news and literature out there.

Questions

  • Where has this issue been and where is it headed?
  • Has progress been made? What does ‘progress’ mean?
  • Is this an issue or is it over-reaction?
  • Are there boundaries when marketing food to children and what are those boundaries?
  • How is this sector of the industry changing?

Thanks ya’ll! Look forward to reading your insights!


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June 16, 2008 at 12:03 am 4 comments

Consumerism. What’s Your First Reaction?

My guess is that it might have caused a slight wrinkle in the face and a sigh of stress? confusion? frustration? I offer that more and more…it should bring a smile. Consumerism is not just about what you consume, but about the choice (and power) you have as well.

Been meaning to post on this topic for a while, but a discussion I had at a friend’s gathering the other day prompted me to post. (Plus, a recent article regarding the optimistic power of consumerism found by a colleague of mine). The conversation circled around consumerism and capitalism….leisurely, get-to-know you chit-chat right…lol

But I was listening to two new friends, acquaintances really, debate consumerism versus capitalism:

  • Are they the same thing?
  • Does one breed the other?
  • Is one better than the other?
  • How to stop it, can we stop it?

Etc., etc., etc….you can only imagine. How many of us have found ourselves in these slightly awkward conversations over the weekend, when all you want to do is relax and make friends. Truth is, I secretly LOVE these conversations. Yup, I’m one of ‘them.’ I love the people who are open to talking about how they feel about the things that really matter, especially those amongst my generation. We do DO more than check Facebook 10 times a day, ;).

Onward. Fact is, I enjoy listening to these conversations because they get my mind tinkering and fueled. After each person shared their viewpoint, I offered this:

Nowadays, the power is transferring from the organization or company to the consumer. Consumerism in today’s terms is increasingly more powerful than it’s given credit. We are all consumers. We all have a choice in the types of services, types of products, types of media we support. Think about the power we have as individuals, let alone when communities and groups surround a movement!”

The best I’ve heard what I’m trying to communicate was at my grad school graduation where Ken Paulson, Editor and Sr. Vice President of USA Today, told my class:

“You are not going to change the world…You already have.”

He went on to explain how the Millennial generation changed the world when they decided they didn’t want to have to pay for music. Or, when they made new phrases like brb, lol and ttyl become common. He also went on to describe the danger we in the media landscape – from advertisers, to journalists, broadcasters, etc – create by referring to ourselves as: The Media. What IS that anyway? The media.

Mr. Paulson, I applaud your speech and would love a copy if you ever read this. It very much reflects what my own master’s research reiterates. There was a time when ‘the media’ (whatever that is) was not a business…and when it was a public service. If you don’t think so, research 1776 or the first newspaper, Publick Occurances. Or, recall Walter WIlliams’ infamous Journalist’s Creed. Or, email/comment me, and let’s have a conversation. 😉

Thus, I leave you with this: What’s your choice? Where do you stand?

Skeptical? Check out Joseph Jaffe’s post and what his power as a consumer is doing to Delta Airlines…at this point, not sure who I feel worse for: Jaffe, or the PR mess Delta is now in, lol. Wow.

******************

As an FYI: My research is being presented at the 1st World Social Marketing Conference this upcoming September in Brighton, England. There’s more to it than this paragraph, and it’s not quite publication ready yet. Let me know if you’ll be there, and hopefully, we can meet! =)


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June 6, 2008 at 4:52 am 4 comments

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Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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