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Hey Pally, Be a Rat Pack Blogger

9c71ec644457_878 The Rat Pack. Dean Martin. Frank Sinatra. Sammy Davis Jr. They worked together, they played together, and at times, they fought with each other.  They called themselves “The Summit.”

When they brought their talents together for projects, they were stronger because of their collaborations. 

On stage: they dazzled the crowds with comedy and song, whether solo or paired up. Legendary stuff.

In the movies: they tanked (except for the original Ocean’s Eleven), but boy did they have fun.

At the studio: Sinatra’s Reprise Record label kicked off with Sinatra, Martin, and Davis (also Bing Crosby) as part of its original recording artists.

With politicians: The trio campaigned for John F. Kennedy during the 1960 Presidential Race, including headlining the 1960 Democratic National Convention.

Each were stars in their own right prior to collaborative efforts – some would even say they competed for the same ears, eyes, and wallets. However, the mix and merge became a better show for the fans and added additional revenue streams for the stars.

Give it a little jazz and it could be the birth of something big:

The Birth of the Blues w/ Sammy, Frank, and Dino (and Johnny)

Whether you’re just getting started or have been kickin’ it in high gear for awhile, a way to take it to another level is find your ‘summit’ or participate in a group project like the Age of Conversation. Benefits a-plenty — for you, us, and them.


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Strong-End Summit: Charity: Water #BAD10 #AOC3

Friday afternoons are often a bit more relaxed, but relaxed doesn’t mean lazy. The Strong-End Summits (videos that will keep brains and hearts afire) are a way to end our week strong and come back refreshed.

As part of Blog Action Day 2010:Water and Age of Conversation 3 Bum Rush to benefit Charity:Water, this edition of Strong-End Summit is a PSA for that precious beverage and powerful resource: Water

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Blog Action Day & Age of Conversation: Like H2O

3537416578_8668e1463b For the last few years, I've been able to take part in two important projects:

The collaborative storytelling of Age of Conversation and the cooperative Blog Action Day.  This year, they converge and combine together like…well…like H2O.

Both projects combine efforts of community conversation in hopes to affect great change.  And this year, the focus is on water.

In particular, The Age of Conversation 3: It's Time to Get Busy, is putting its proceeds to charity:water this edition.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water is calling on bloggers to focus on the topic of water today. And you can use any social media outlet to create awareness.

Here's three things you can do:

  1. Buy a copy (or 27) of Age of Conversation 3 to support charity:water. The book is written by 171 marketers, educators, leaders, and social media-olgists aound and about the conversation landscape. Good stuff.
  2. Register your site at Blog Action Day and then go create or curate content that will create awareness about how important a discussion this is – in our nation and around the world. (You can even get ideas of what to write)
  3. Use Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and your imagination to spread the word (and point to what other folks are saying).

It's a great day and opportunity to make an impact, create relationships, and show the power of community conversation. The converstion flow and the ripples spread far and wide.


Me at age 7: "Dad, can I have a glass of milk?"
Dad (he was old then too):  "No, it's late."
Me: "Pleeeeeze?"
Dad: "Have a glass of water — it's free."

My how times change, hmm?

Photo on Flickr by Dylan Parker


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The Bookstore Lesson

This was part of a training series previously offered, titled “0-60″.

This seems to be the favorite lesson of many – and count me among them. The bookstore lesson.

In some ways, the bookstore is like the conversphere itself:

  • Many genres of books
  • Different types of publications (books, magazines, pop-ups, blank journals)
  • Multi-media (music, movies, print, mini-books, gifts & accessories)
  • And if we’re lucky…coffee!

Before we take a step into the store, let’s be aware of some of the background sound – the conversation that will take place – and recognize that its conversation about content. People talking about the books or music or even the coffee. Content is a conversation starter.

Let’s start with the Magazine section:

2745001060_3e49730d64_m Which magazines do you subscribe to? Or which are your favorites? Why? Are there any things (picture size or style; length of copy; white space) you might do similarly on your blog or other social media sites?

As we look through a few of the magazines, we notice almost all of them have a set of regular departments or features. Included in every issue. In blogging, these are like a series or even a category on your blog.

As we take a few steps back, notice anything going on with the headlines?  Any commonalities?

  • Numbered lists
  • Questions
  • Word: Followed by Short Sub Title
  • Alliteration Allowing Alpha Adroitness

There are tons of different types of posts you can write, and you’ll get great headline ideas from the magazine rack.

A lot of money goes into the research of what sells and to pay the writers of these headlines. So let’s start thinking likewise.

Another great source of headline ideas are those…publications…at the grocery aisle like the Star Magazine or National Enquirer.

Let’s go over to the Business Books:

First, let’s look at the marketing section. Holy cow!  look at all the books.  There’s Internet Marketing, Sales, Lovemarks, Branding, No BS, and lots of Gitomer.  And there are more coming — always will be.

Want to know something? Many in the profession of sales or marketing are going to buy a bunch of those titles — not just one.  I say that to say this: Differentiation is important, sometimes your take on a matter is differentiation enough.

So let’s take a look at a couple of similarities between books and blogs

Books have a Table of Contents and an Index.  Blogs have Categories and Tags.

As a Table of Contents give a high-level overview of what the book might be about, so does the Category listing for a blog. And while an index scopes down a bit further into the keywords and phrases in a book, so does Tags do so with a blog.

While we’re roaming the stacks of the bookstore, know that many of today’s best sellers are writing by authors who also blog – and in some cases, the genesis of some books were a blog site blog post.

If you want some great examples of length, layout, and linking of big ideas a page at a time - check out authors like Tom Peters, Karen Salmohnson, David Meerman Scott, and books like Exploiting Chaos and Radical Careering.

As we continue to travel through the tracts and tiers, we see SCAMPERings from James Patterson’s Alex Cross series (Roses Are Red, Along Came a Spider, Four Blind Mice) and Gregory MacGuire (Wicked, Mirror Mirror, and Lost).

We’ll also find anthologies and lists in abundance in the Sports; procedural texts and how-to books in Cooking; and tips and technique in Writing or Music.

Also notice, if you have time, that Democrats buy Al Franken and Republicans buy Bill O’Reilly (aka “we read what we already agree with”). This part suggests that some of your most avid readers and conversations will be amongst your peers (and competition).

So many other media is available. Blank books, comic books, coffee table books, photo books, discount books, “twitter” books (those mini hand-helds thingies), bookmarks, games, pens, maps, music, video…

I’m tellin’ ya – I love the bookstore lesson.  Ideally, we’ll go together – but if geography is against us at this time, get there and stay aware.

Photos on Flickr by stevegarfield (top); and Travelin’ Librarian (bottom)

Your Transformation Playbook: You Already Know How to Be Great

51TNjjE4R6L._SL500_AA300_ There are some fantastic business books that transcend business and also work well in sports, education, parenting, and just about any discipline.

Add You Already Know How to Be Great to that mix. 

Author Alan Fine, who himself has coached business leaders, organizations and pro athletes, has put together a handbook to guide his readers to breakthrough for themselves, and practices that will allow them to inspire others to do likewise.

The book uses several frameworks that allow us to reflect and remember the practices with ease. The techniques toward transformation will ignite immediate change and growth.

There are three sections that make up the book:

  • Paradigm and Principle
  • Process
  • Practice

With something for everyone, the book is chock full of great quotes, transcripted coaching sessions, and graphic organizers to help the visual learner.

There are even homework assignments at the end of each chapter (I love it!).

Here’s a short video of Alan Fine giving an overview of the book (includes many of the visuals in the book):

Also check out Alan Fine’s Change This manifesto of the same title.

Buy it? Borrow it? Bury it?  I’d would recommend Buy It. For coaches, parents, teachers and anyone in a position to have conversations that could inspire growth (including self-talk)


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Slide: Do You Want the Truth?


I occasionally find myself in a position to ask this question.

Some business folks just want justification for their “stuck in 2000-AOL” ways. Some folks want the straight shot. And sometimes, I can’t tell — So I ask: “Do you want the ‘feel good’ — or the truth?

Flickr photo by Butter Sponge

Inspired from a scene in The Matrix

An in-depth look at this scene

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0-60 Series: Day 11 – Homework: Getting Ready to Go Social (Reserve Your Name)

0to60In this series, we will cover some of the first 60 days of integrating social media into your overall business and marketing strategy. These trainings are designed to be completed in an hour (after all we have businesses to run).

Just a few days left before we launch your blog. Today, we're going to travel outside the blog a bit, securing your usernames with other social networks and tools.

Almost two weeks into our work, and today we touch on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social tools for the first time (but just to secure the names).

First things first, bang out that practice blog post (Day 4) and don't forget the eye rests (Day 3). And remember, now that we've set up categories (Day 11), make sure you place your practice post in at least one of those categories. (30-40 minutes?).

There are two main reasons I strongly recommend folks to secure their (user)name on just about every tool that has legs (growth in use and popularity):

  1. Get your name before someone else – even someone who shares your name – secures the name (Did you know there are almost 20 different "Mike Sansone" people out there?  Several own businesses!)
  2. It's free! Even if we haven't yet figured out a business reason to use the tool, at least get your profile up. We may find a way to use the tool or engage in the conversations taking place in the community.

Plus, it's become incredibly easy to sign up with two web-based tools: KnowEm and NameChk. Both of these tools allow you to check 100s of social media and social networking sites to see if your name is already taken.

I would suggest you secure your personal name AND your business name (See the two reasons above). Below are screen shots giving you a glimpse of how it works. Below the screen shots are the sites I'd recommend you start out with.

Know 'Em


Know em separates sites into different categories (Blogging, Bookmarking, Business, Community, and many more). Follow the list below, but also check each section to see if there is a social networking site you've heard a lot about in your field.  Remember, secure your name – and it's (for the most part) free.



NameChk doesn't have as many sites to choose from, but there's enough of a difference that you should use both tools. Each of these tools take you right to the sign-up or join pages of those networks you choose.

Remembering that we're simply signing up today (we'll begin engagement with these tools in the near future), here are my suggestions to the "must-have" tools in your social media quiver (you may already have some of them):

Find it on KnowEm:

  • Blogging Section: Tumblr, Disuqus, Posterous, IntenseDebate
  • Bookmarking: StumbleUpon, Delicious, Diigo, Squidoo,
  • Business: Linkedin, DocStoc, Kiva
  • Community: Facebook, Slideshare, Instructables
  • Design: Aviary
  • Information:,, MyOpenID, Yahoo, Scribd, Wikipedia
  • Microblogging: Gowalla, Foursquare, Twitter, FriendFeed (still)
  • Music: Jamendo,,, Pandora
  • News: Alltop, Technorati,
  • Photo: Flickr
  • Video: YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, Hulu, UStream, Seesmic

Find it on NameChk:

  • Facebook, GoodReads,

Others to Consider, but not on either list:

Yep – lots of leg work to prepare for great things.  This is just getting our ducks in a bunch.  I'm sure there's a few folks that will do this for you for a small charge – in fact, I'll do it for $100 bucks (for one name – $150 if we include your business name).

That's it for today. On Day 12, we travel to the bookstore (best lesson in the bunch, I'm told).

The Series:

  • (Note: I'll be continuing this series free here until Day #14: Launching Your Blog, then periodic days along the rest of the 60 days)
  • You can get the 0-60 Series emailed to you in a gradual release format (one-a-day) for only $150

    Note that during these 60 days, I would have about 20 face-to-face or live conversations (Skype or other form of video/screen sharing). The other days are self-paced — though plenty of homework



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    Should Every Business Blog?

    244870161_2a9468bb74_m A fellow Social Mediaticialist recently asked my opinion: "Should every business have a blog?"

    My answer surprised me.


    A few years ago, I would have answered differently.

    Now, I believe every business could blog. But I no longer think every business should blog.

    Many companies are outsourcing all their social media – and while there are ways that can work, there a few ways outsourcing can backfire. Unless the voice and tone of the business (better said – the people of the business) comes through, it can be a slippery slope. It's one reason I offer Google Voice for Blog Posts.

    There's also the question of purpose. What does the company want to accomplish by their blogging efforts (or the expense of outsourcing)? Without a purpose, a bottom-line gain, many companies won't endure.

    Engagement. What about engagement?  If a business really doesn't give a hoot or nanny about engaging with others – punt.  There's no reason to cloud up the conversphere with their marketing push if they aren't willing to put on some ears.

    Page depth, and awareness, and findability are all great reasons to blog. But I don't think they should be the main reasons.

    L.E.A.R.N. – Motivator of Conversation

    Photo on Flickr by toffeehoff

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    On This Day in Social Media History: Saturday Night Live Launches

    The Saturday Night Live title card as featured...Image via Wikipedia

    In 1975 when Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC on October 11th, George Carlin was the first host. Guests included Andy Kaufmann, Janis Ian and Billy Preston.

    In some ways, the Not Ready for Prime Time Players (the cast) were like bloggers before blogging. Skits were short and sometimes they tanked (find SNL transcripts). They took chances.  

    The content created conversations, collaborations, community, and copycats.

    We love it because it's live, tranparent, authentic.

    And Saturday Night Live is still strong after 35 years, as its content gets talked about in social circles online and offline. Episodes can be seen on Hulu, and a depth of pages can be found on Wikipedia (check out this great page on the SNL casts).

    It might not have been called blogging back then, but it may there are similaraties a-plenty.

    I believe that Social Media has been around since "chalk on a rock' and has had more tools than we can shake a screwdriver at. It's always been (and should remain) more about the talk-nology than the technology. That in mind, this category "On this day in Social Media history…" celebrates some of the pioneers of social media — even if we didn't call it that back in the day.

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    Whistle Stops: 10/10/10

    Whistlestops_39_3 Whistle Stops are conversations, eye-openers, or tools representing the brain train discovered while traveling along the Conversphere.  From business to education, life hacks to giving back, these are the posts and links that have in some way grabbed my attention this week!


    • 10 Awesome Tools to Make Infographics at MakeUseOf – I am amazed at some of the infographics out there – jealous in some ways, that I don’t have the talent. This piece shows us some tools that will allow us to hurdle the talent barrier and still produce a great piece of info-art.
    • Connect Don’t Collect by Kneale Mann – A great story and practice that is so important these days, and Kneale offers one way to connect you may not have considered. Crab a cup and begin your connecting.
    • HOW TO: Customize your Background for the New Twitter at Mashable – I’ve been getting this question a lot – and therefore passing this tutorial around. Shares the proper dimensions too!
    • Learning to Share Isn’t Just for Kids by Tim Milburn – If I was ever on The Actor’s Studio – the end interview part – My least favorite word = MINE! Tim helps by putting the money quotes in bold (great eye rests).
    • 5 Traits of a Great Headline at Search Engine People – Some great tips to getting more clickthroughs from your RSS and Twitter readers. Easy to implement.
    • Worried Your Market Isn’t Big Enough? Think Again by Pam Slim – Chin up gang, this rings so true for so many. Cath the conversation Pam has with someone recently – and be refreshed at the abundance as you ready for next week.
    • QR Codes in Media, Marketing & Advertising – A Definitive Guide by James Ball – You’ve seen them all over the place and spreading like a spill. But what are they? Here are the answers.
    • Marketing with Tags: QR Code Generators by Chris Brown – Okay, now we know what QR Codes are, but what do we do with them? Here are some ideas and choices.
    Here at ConverStations (in case you missed it):

    From my Twitter thoughts:

    • Not too much original thoughts shared this week (lots of resource sharing though). Mostly, I’ve been experimenting with the New Twitter and seeing how video, images, and location-based services are working within the Twitter site. Interesting stuff. Post coming soon.

    Enjoy Your Travels:-)

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