Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting More Social Media Savvy: Day One

prsa-logo Months ago I signed up to take PRSA's Social Media Boot Camp with Eric Schwartzman. While I've been using social media for a few years,  I'm not a social media expert.  Today, I woke up at 4:45 a.m. to catch the New Haven line Metro North train to New York City for a two-day workshop that will hopefully put me on the path of being a more social media savvy communications professional. I was ready to engage and dig deeper in the subject of social media.

After an eight-hour day, I'm still trying to process all the information I received. Did the rubber meet the road? Yes and no. Some of the main concepts in Eric's overview I already knew and those I didn't I grasped fairly quickly, which was a relief. However, the nitty gritty of how to strategically incorporate social media in communication and media relation outreach efforts remains a challenge. It will boil down to applying what I've learned and retained. 

There was a lot of information to digest, but my main take-a-way was from this morning.  Moving forward I will embrace Google Reader to aggregate and monitor my news, not just Google alerts. Do you consider yourself social media savvy? If so, any tips you want to share?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reflecting on the ProduceHERS Women Artist's Showcase

Q&A with the artists.
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I'm glad that hosting my first Thanksgiving is behind me. It was small dinner, which is fine by me. Thanks go out to my mom and mother-in-law for helping me prepare the staple items such as the turkey and the stuffing.

I've been running on close to empty going into this holiday weekend. It was filled with travel to Baltimore for a training on Results-based Facilitation and then a trip to St. Louis to record interviews for an anniversary video. I also finalized my team's script for the 2012 Action on Film Writers' Room Invitational and said good-bye to one job as I prepare to start another.

Halima rehearsing with the actors.
During this time I also squeezed in coordinating the second ProduceHERS' event, a Women's Artist Showcase with partner Halima Flynn. The  Showcase was held at the downtown New Haven Public Library and ran from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Although we got off to a late start, it didn't take away from the creative aura that was in the room. We had a small attendance, but I'm a firm believer in quality over quantity. I am proud to say those who were in attendance were engaged in the event. There were also some familiar faces. A special shout out to my friends ChaChanna and Carmen, who always manage to come out and support me. I'm so grateful to have you both in my inner circle.

I also have to to thank all the women who participated in the event. I was engaged in each of the presentations. Dana's photo presentation took me to countries in Europe, Asia, and the middle east. Hearing the actor's read my dialogue brought me back to my mid-twenties, and the essay Anne read from her anthology Press Pause Moments  brought home the theme of women empowerment.  The program was powerful. Our communities have a wealth of talented, strong and passionate women and the ProduceHERS aims to continue to tap into the creativity, engage and share it with the community. I'm proud to be a part of this community and a messenger in getting the word out about creative women.
Dana's photo presentation.

As the end of the year closes, I like to take this time to reflect on all that I have done and what I wanted to do in 2012. Launching The ProduceHERS was on the list. So much energy went into getting this collaborative effort off the ground. However, I also realize moving this community-focused effort forward and sustaining it overtime is going to take a more focused and strategic effort in 2013.

I have so many things to reflect on in 2012 and I post is just one of a few you will see with a reflection theme. The time to think about what worked, what didn't, and then begin to plan for next year is here.

With Thanksgiving day gone, the Jewish and Christian holiday season is officially here and although it is easy to get sucked into the commercialism I will stay the course on reflecting for 2012 and count the many blessing that I have had this year.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Canvassing for the First Time

Many in the Northeast are still recovering from the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a roof over my head, heat, and luxuries such as cable and Internet. My heart goes out to my fellow neighbors both in and out of state that are still trying to get back to their  pre-hurricane lives.

I was getting a little bit down on myself because I haven't posted a a blog or restaurant review in a few weeks. I have eaten out at a couple of local New Haven restaurants, but between starting my next class, gearing up for a job transition, and life in general, I've dropped the ball on the writing front. While I have my regrets I realize there are more important things to consider. The most important thing for me at the moment is tomorrow's election.

It's been a grueling campaign on both sides and I think it's an illustration of how high the stakes are for all Americans, no matter what side of the political aisle you may fall. This past Saturday, I canvassed for the first time with Planned Parenthood Votes CT and Naral Pro-Choic Connecticut PAC in Middletown. Both organizations are supporting pro-choice Democratic candidates Dante Bartolomeo (D) for state representative of the 13th district and Christopher Muphy (D) for U.S Senate. I signed up for a morning shift. It was great to meet other volunteers and see people engaged in the political process.

When we were getting the dos and don'ts of canvasing we received a surprise message that Sandra Fluke would be stopping by. We were already charged up, but that added fuel to our political fire. I was hoping I'd get to meet her before I hit the streets. Just as I was stepping outside, she pulled up to our location. I managed to get out a hello, introduced myself, and thanked her for dropping by. She thanked me for canvassing. Later that day, she also favorited my tweet which made up for the missed photo opportunity. Hopefully our paths cross again.

Jen, my canvass partner and I knocked on 48 doors. Most of the people weren't home. I was bummed by that. I caught one women getting out of the shower and she just took our fliers and closed her door. Jen spoke to a 34 year-old women who said she wasn't going to vote. This was a reality check about young voters in our country who are not engaged in politics. I realize this fact, but it's an eye-opener when you hear a person tell you they don't plan on voting.

Her reasons for not voting in this election were that she didn't have time and that she was disillusioned by political ads on both sides. I hope that we left enough of an impression with her that she does go out and vote and if not, what a sad state of affairs.

In this country I feel we take a lot for granted at times. The election process is a personal reminder of how fragile our system is and how easily the scales can tip in another direction. Please VOTE TOMORROW! Our future depends on it.