Archive for March, 2010

26th

I dropped everything and drove the Health Care Reform Protest last Saturday.  Glad I did for a number of reasons:

  1. My wife and I drove 12 hours with a couple that knows more about what’s ‘really going on’ than we do.
  2. Saw first hand that HCR is equally about HCR and about Big Brother (see my pics).
  3. I was AMAZED that 50,000 people came on 48hrs notice – viral!
  4. Was reminded over and over about the social/economic/political/religious roots of the USA.
  5. Made a powerful viral video of the protest that’s been viewed by over 1000 people.
  6. Got ‘in the mix’… and have received a few biting comments about my efforts – so I must be doing something right.
  7. Reinforced my energy and vigor to right the ship come November.

What are your thoughts?  At a minimum, do you think it was the right thing to do???.. to publish an enormous bill with sweeping socio-economic, political implications on a Thursday, and demand a vote on Sunday?  What are your thoughts?

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Social Media and insurance is catching on like wildfire!  Now mind you, I say this in the context of the insurance space, where speed is measured in years, not days or months!  I’ve yet to see an insurance company ‘rush into’ anything.  But that said, I’m impressed with the level of interest in blogs and social media – genuine interest.  At the same time, brokers are starting to take a look at leveraging social media to drive traffic to consumer-driven insurance sites.  Let me just say, though, NOW MORE THAN EVER, there will be a premium put on the effectiveness of the landing pages and the user experience, the transparency of the broker and insurance product, and the ability for visitors to interact with the site and the brand.  And if they smell a rat… DO NOT give a project like this to your IT department to Design…..    Develop?  OK, but with detailed guidelines.  MUST MUST MUST have excellent usability with this – and that is no easy thing, especially in an environment of corporate and government compliance.

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The Epiphany?? As I sat with a new social technology partner (very great tech, btw, for casting and monitoring social media, managing SM campaigns, CRM integration, etc. – very powerful), a thought suddenly occurred to me.  When I first started writing about insurance technology back in 2005, I remember soap-boxing about the use of these technologies, the importance of getting in the game, of blogging and establishing that conversation, etc.  (In fact, a quick search of the blog reveals this thread.)  At the time, my thinking was that if the current group of health and life insurance players didn’t get moving, they would suffer loss in the future at the hands of more tech-savvy up-starts, sort of like what happened with the Spanish Armada (another post).  So it was more about competitive advantage.

Little did I know that the real threat would come from a future administration bent on taking over the entire industry.  And now, in general, the industry has a tiny voice in the media and blogosphere with which to defend itself.  And it’s getting its collective clock cleaned by tremendous mis-information.  Is this out in left field or true?  Thoughts?  Links to corroborate?  I heard a story yesterday about a Blue plan that was forced to retract a story by Kathleen Sebelius – anyone have any links to that?  Hmmm… “Sebelius served as executive director and chief lobbyist for the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (now Kansas Association for Justice) from 1977–1986.”

Interesting times.  Interesting times.  Thoughts?

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Special Offer: Anyone who wants help launching a professional blog – executive, marcom department, bizdev, sales, product/SEO, whatever… I’m running a special through the end of the month, first 5 takers, already got 2.  Let me know and I’ll give you the details.

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Love this picture.
The intersection of HCR and Government Intervention – and Youth.
How old do you think this guy is?  20?  Way to go, dude.
18th

Heads-down working on an E-business strategy for a client… will try to post notes, final thoughts, and reflections on the AIPAGIA conference last week.  But lest I run out of time, a shout to readers and passers-by at this milestone event in the history of our nation:

Write your Congress, PLEASE. They NEED to hear your voice. Takes 5 minutes. Just do it! Please. http://www.congress.org/

Some recent readings, each with its own bias:

Hospital CEOs Weigh In on Health Care Debate – intelligent comments

Five Reasons The CBO Figures Are Phony- Investors Business Daily

Idaho to Sue Feds Over Health Care Mandate “Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states.” FoxNews

My Healthcare Plan by  Ann Coulter great take

National Review – tons of good stuff on all this

Six Ways to Fix Our Healthcare System by Samuel H. Fleet – very simple concepts to fix the issue by a subject matter expert, not a politician or bureaucrat

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23hcr twitter search on #hcr – health care reform – all points of view

The Reconciliation Bill just now tweeted… carve out some time to read 4000 pages

My Questions:

Is it about liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, blahblahblah, or is it about rational and sane fiscal responsibility, and about letting the free markets work to hold people accountable for their personal decisions and preferences? And under-girding it all, do we as a nation need to return to our spiritual roots, the foundation of this great nation?  Or are we going to stay on the track of deeper and deeper corruption?  (Remembering the exercise my son and I took in 2007 to understand the 7 Deadly Sins as he graduated from High School.) Has a substitute for the 10 Commandments ever worked in the history of mankind? On a personal level, I know when I got back to those basics almost 20 years ago, my life became much more effective, productive, and satisfying.  And when I stray from those, it doesn’t take long for me to feel the adverse impacts.  I believe the same is true for a nation.

Your thoughts?  Wait! Write your congressmen before you write here, though.

Btw, I’m glad I have a voice in this through this blog, through twitter, through facebook and linkedin.  How about you?  Can I help you find your voice?  Tellin’ ya’… you’ll be glad you started – on several levels.

Spring In Northeast Ohio

13th

How cool is this?!?! Posting to the Blog from the podium!  Speaking to a group about Social Media, demonstrating Social Media, with a Blog post about Twitter! If you see this right away, Hit Me Back right away – on the Blog Comment, on the Linkedin status update, RT on Twitter, text, something!  I’ll get the notice and show the group! (Okay, I’m probably dreaming.)

More on Twitter….  Please share your comments below as well.

Twitter also works as a prospecting tool, connecting with potential clients who might benefit from my knowledge and related services.  How?  That’s “the secret sauce” as a client of mine likes to say.  Did you know that Twitter can enhance a conference experience, both for the attendees and the non-attendees?  Obviously, conference organizers would likely prefer more attendees rather than participants on Twitter.  But the facts of the matter are that some people have the time, budget, and degree of interest to attend, while others don’t have one or the other, but STILL are at various levels on the interest continuum and might follow, perhaps even promote or engage.  And, hey, perhaps if they follow the conference on Twitter this year, they will attend the conference next year, right?!?!

IMHO, a few of the key things that make Twitter incredibly rich:

  1. http://twitterhandbook.com/ – Get it.  Read it.  It’s free and will get you started.
  2. http://www.tweetdeck.com/ – or something similar… Use it to easily see and filter Mentions, Direct Messages’s, groups of authors, real-time keyword search, a URL shortener, twitpix, more..
  3. One post per day – from TweetDeck, my mobile device (Treo, bookmarked m.twitter.com), Blog, ShareThis on a Web page, or twitter.com
  4. Blog – if you don’t have one, talk to me.  In 10 minutes, I can give you at least 10 extremely compelling reasons that spending a few grand on a professional blog and learning the ropes will pay off BIG TIME.  #1 – A Blog Integration with Linkedin – It’s an OUTSTANDING way to stay top-of-mind with your network.
  5. Hash tags – here’s a perfect YouTube vid on that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAHitI26MmE
  6. Twitter Search http://search.twitter.com/ – Using Twitter or not, go ahead and search on a couple keywords.  This tool is becoming one of the top search engines on the Web.  Phenomenal.
  7. Direct Messages – easy way to communicate with someone you don’t know well enough to connect with on linkedin or facebook, but you want to send a private message, for example to start an off-line conversation or draw attention to something.
  8. Following, Shout-outs, Follow-Friday, RT’s
  9. 5 min a couple times a day, down time in airports

A few words of caution:

  • Remember standards of etiquette and professional protocol and courtesy.  Standard rules still apply.
  • Don’t Tweet in traffic; cruising the interstate – maybe.  Be prudent.
  • Remember the adage, ‘2 ears, 1 mouth – use in proportion!’ Careful not to over-share.
  • Don’t tweet while using alcohol, while angry, tired, or hungry.  (Btw, you CAN delete a Tweet.)
  • Always ‘consider the source’ – truism more relevant now than ever.
  • Make sure you have a good virus-protection system… click-through’s to Web sites inherently risky.
  • Block people you don’t want to associate with (e.g. porn stars who follow you.)

I could go on and on about Twitter, but out of time.  I could seriously spend all day on twitter – and have a very productive day!  Really! But that’s it for now.  I hope this has lifted the awareness of a few more people.  If you are getting started, follow me and I’ll follow you back.  I might also perhaps suggest you on Follow Friday, or perhaps RT a post of yours every now and then.  But more than anything, I’ll be listening to you – and, hopefully, LEARN!  Oh yeah, one more time – GET A BLOG and start sharing!

A picture from AIPAGIA – Sunrise on Captiva

12th

Fantastic insights on the last post from Friends, Fellow Bloggers, and Readers.  Thanks to all.  Great work! (Click here to see them all.)

Especially like the comments on Blogs from Tammy.  I learned about the insurance ecosystem site – nicely done, Pat Alexander.  Steve Anderson’s comment is insightful as always.   Jennifer Beever also shared some golden nuggets.  Really great stuff.

Interesting common thread – you get out of it what you put into it.  And time management – always an issue.  But I bet there is 10-20% of stuff people are doing that they could cut and not miss it (umm – pro sports on TV?!?!)

Thanks again.

My take?  First let me say I am no expert.  I’ve been using the tool for a year and have learned a tremendous amount, reinforced relationships, and started some new ones.  But I’m still skiing the green runs – well perhaps a blue now and then, but certainly not a black or double-black diamond, IYKWIM!  Like Linkedin, not sure I will ever plumb the depths of Twitter.  But it’s hard to imagine not continuing to use it.

As repeated before, “Facebook is for connecting with people you USED to know.  Linkedin is for connecting with people you CURRENTLY know. Twitter is for connecting with people you WANT to know.” If you think it about it that way, if you consider what you can get out of LISTENING to people, that frame of reference might encourage you to get started.  Of course, if you consider yourself fully informed (aka (x)), then you’re probably not reading this post to begin with.  But if you ARE reading AND fully informed, then you should REALLY be on Twitter and sharing your wisdom and watching your followers grow to huge, world-wide audience, (x). That is unless you are consuming knowledge and not generating or transmitting what you know (aka (x)). Btw, read between the lines to figure out what I deleted (x) from this writing – seemed a little judgmental.  Feel free to post your guesses in the Comments below.

Every now and then, I hear people say that Twitter is fading.  Noting that that comment is usually made by a non-user (doh!), here’s why I think it works and will continue to grow and flourish – there are tons of app’s being written (so a business model), it’s incredibly powerful and malleable, there are so many high-profile users, and most of all, it’s designed for the mobile user.  Mobile apps seem to be the future.  And human nature seems to want to share opinions and experiences, and wisdom, with the world.  Put those two together and you’ve got… Twitter!

The interesting thing about Twitter is its ‘nimbility’.  I can choose who I follow, how often I use it, how I use it, and why I use it.  And all 4 of those variables change on a fairly regular basis.  One day, I might be interested in hearing from industry folks; another, from non-industry professionals; yet another from speakers and motivational experts; then elected officials; perhaps friends, though I get most of that through Facebook.  Every now and then, when there’s a breaking story, I’ll follow the tweets, especially stories I know MSM will not cover or will cover with bias.  Like the 9/12 March on Washington last fall.  Through Twitter, I gained access to real-time coverage, including video and pictures.  MSM was reporting a whole different story, in the limited coverage they gave it.  Classic.  Another time I followed the Aartrijk Brand Camp and even asked some questions of the attendees – all virtually through Twitter (which made me wish even more that I was there!).

Part 2 tomorrow, “Live” from the AIPAGIA Social Media session.  Can’t wait!

Oh yeah, last night I had the great honor of singing in an awesome choir and hearing the legendary Dr. John Perkins, one who has changed and continues to change the outlook of this nation on racism.  Fantastic talk.  See the pics here.  Thanks to my friend Bryan Wilson for manning the camera while I sang!  Awesome job.  We’re even now! :-)

Fantastic insights from the Friends, Fellow Bloggers, and Readers. Thanks to all. Great work!

Especially like the comments re… I learned – and that’s always cool.

Interesting common thread…

Thanks again.

My take? First let me say I am no expert. I’ve been using the tool for a year and have learned a tremendous amount, reinforced relationships, and started some new ones. But I’s still skiing the green runs – well perhaps a blue now and then, but certainly not a black or double-black diamond, IYKWIM! Like Linkedin, not sure I will ever plumb the depths of Twitter. But it’s hard to imagine not continuing to use it.

As repeated before, “Facebook is for connecting with people you USED to know. Linkedin is for connecting with people you CURRENTLY know. Twitter is for connecting with people you WANT to know.” If you think it about it that way, if you consider what you can get out of LISTENING to people, that might encourage you to get started. Of course, if you consider yourself fully informed (aka (x)), then you’re probably not reading this post to begin with. But if you ARE reading AND fully informed, then you should REALLY be on Twitter and sharing your wisdom and watching your followers grow to huge, world-wide audience, (x). That is unless you are consuming knowledge and not generating or transmitting what you know (aka (x)). (Btw, read between the lines to figure out what I deleted (x) from this writing – seemed a little judgmental. Feel free to post in the Comments below.)

Every now and then, I hear people say that Twitter is fading. Noting that that comment is usually made by a non-user (doh!), here’s why I think it works and will continue to grow and flourish – there are tons of app’s being written (so a business model), it’s incredibly powerful and malleable, there are so many high-profile users, and most of all, it’s designed for the mobile user. Mobile apps seem to be the future. And human nature seems to want to share opinions and experiences, and wisdom, with the world. Put those two together and you’ve got… Twitter!

The interesting thing about Twitter is its ‘nimbility’. I can choose who I follow, how often I use it, how I use it, and why I use it. And all 4 of those variables change on a fairly regular basis. One day, I might be interested in hearing from industry folks; another, from non-industry professionals; yet another from speakers and motivational experts; then elected officials; perhaps friends, though I get most of that through Facebook. Every now and then, when there’s a breaking story, I’ll follow the tweets, especially stories I know MSM will not cover or will cover with bias. Like the 9/12 March on Washington last fall. Through Twitter, I gained access to real-time coverage, including video and pictures. MSM was reporting a whole different story, in the limited coverage they gave it. Classic. Another time I followed the Aartrijk Brand Camp and even asked some questions of the attendees – all virtually through Twitter (which made me wish even more that I was there!).

Archives to 2005