« October 2008 | Main | December 2008 »

Engage With Grace


A few days ago I received an eMail from Paul Levy describing a unique outreach to help educate people about an important life issue that is often incredibly difficult to discuss. End of Life Experience. 

It may seem strange to some, but for me, on the day before Thanksgiving it seems right to join with the voices of many people in social media who are dedicating posts to this cause. Taking these words from Alexandra Drane's speech (video below) I invite you to .. Make a toast to those that you love and those that you miss and have this conversation with your family.

Engage with grace

We make choices throughout our lives - where we want to live, what types of activities will fill our days, with whom we spend our time. These choices are often a balance between our desires and our means, but at the end of the day, they are decisions made with intent. But when it comes to how we want to be treated at the end our lives, often we don't express our intent or tell our loved ones about it.

This has real consequences. 73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but up to 50% die in hospital. More than 80% of Californians say their loved ones "know exactly" or have a "good idea" of what their wishes would be if they were in a persistent coma, but only 50% say they've talked to them about their preferences.But our end of life experiences are about a lot more than statistics. They're about all of us.

So the first thing we need to do is start talking. Engage With Grace: The One Slide Project was designed with one simple goal: to help get the conversation about end of life experience started. The idea is simple: Create a tool to help get people talking. One Slide, with just five questions on it. Five questions designed to help get us talking with each other, with our loved ones, about our preferences.

And we're asking people to share this One Slide - wherever and whenever they can.at a presentation, at dinner, at their book club. Just One Slide, just five questions. Lets start a global discussion that, until now, most of us haven't had.Here is what we are asking you: Download The One Slide and share it at any opportunity - with colleagues, family, friends. Think of the slide as currency and donate just two minutes whenever you can. Commit to being able to answer these five questions about end of life experience for yourself, and for your loved ones. Then commit to helping others do the same. Get this conversation started.

Let's start a viral movement driven by the change we as individuals can effect...and the incredibly positive impact we could have collectively. Help ensure that all of us - and the people we care for - can end our lives in the same purposeful way we live them. Just One Slide, just one goal. Think of the enormous difference we can make together. - Written by Alexandra Drane and the Engage With Grace team

The story of Za, that began this innovative journey is told by her sister in-law Alexandra Drane.

Engage with Grace from Health 2.0 on Vimeo.

Toby -
Proud sister of Susan Ellen, proud daughter of Anne and Lou.
Believer in the Power of Conversation

Read more on Engage With Grace

31 Social Media Networking Communities For Women


Social networks .. they're not just MySpace, Facebook or even Twitter. The long tail concept comes to life in the hundreds of thousands of niche communities that are exploding on to the social media scene.

Friends hugging fundraiser blog A soon-to-be-talked about new venture sent me on quest to explore what was happening with women and social networks. I discovered that when it comes to dishn' with your virtual girlfriends the communities are as diverse as well .. women! In addition to communities for moms, the focus ranges from cars to sports to business to age and status to cultural niches.

1.Multi-Tasking Women - Kyle Young created a community that empowers women to embrace and celebrate ALL the facets of their lives as a unique whole.

2. WECAI.org - Heidi Richards Mooney's focus is helping women do business online.

3. Ask Patty - Jody DeVere created the first community to help women learn about cars.

4. Diva Tribe - Jennifer Thompson launched this community to encourage women to work together to better themselves and live to their full potentials through reading, writing, and creativity.

4.More.ca - Canadian community celebrating women over 40.

5.Wowowow - site for women founded by a team of celebrity friends Joni Evans, Liz Smith. Mary Wells,Peggy Noonan and Lesley Stahl.

6. AOL Living - AOL's version of community for women.

7.iVillage - A division of NBC Universal iVillage was established in 1995 and is positioned as the #1 online destination for women.

9. Hitched! -  Founded in May 2003, by Jacquelyn Corbett Cyr this community's focus is on the women of Canada.

10. Kirsty - social media "sharing/voting" platform.

11. Savvy Auntie - Auntie Melanie Notkin created the first community for Aunts to exchange ideas, get advice, find gifts and connect with other Savvy Aunties.

12. Alpha Women - The "coffee shop" of the internet is a blogging community launched by Freda Mooncotch.

13. Divapreneur - Supporting women who own small businesses to network and learn together.

14. Boudica - Lorna Harris had an idea of a social news site for women. Community members are encourged to submit news stories,  information and web sites.

15. HerProBlog - Mona Weathers launched her community to help women bloggers from all walks of life, all levels of blog publishing understanding, and desired income earning goals to create and maintain professional blogs.

16. BlogHer - Founders Elisa Camahort, Lisa Stone and Jory Des Jardin focus is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment.

17. Single Minded Women - A community devoted to the needs of single women of all ages; founded by Allison O’Connor.

18. Jane Out of The Box - Michele DeKinder-Smith has developed a community created exclusively for women entrepreneurs.

19. EmpowHER - Michelle King Robson  is the founder of a community where women ask, share and connect to enhance each other's health. 

20. WESeed - Jennifer Openshaw developed this social-networking site to help people get into the stock market.

21. Built On A Woman - A blogging community that positions as a source of practical information; posted by women, for women; founded by Shelle.

22. Solo Lady - Lea Lane launched this community for single women of all ages.

23. Ophra's Oprah's - online community.

24, Divine Caroline - Women are encouraged to publish their posts and articles on this community founded by Kate Everett Thorp.

25. Damsels In Success - A blogging site for professional women founded by Harleen Kahlon.

26. Women in Bloom - Allison Allen created this community to inspire and support women to ‘bloom’ in mid-life.

27. Black Women Connect - Social community for professional Black women developed by Connect Platform.

29. Tango Diva - Teresa Rodriguez Williamson and Patti Mangan built this community for women to share solo travel experiences, ideas and questions.

30. Femme Fan - Ivette Ricco, decided the time was right to provide the female fan a place on the web that covered sports from the female's unique perspective.

31. First Wives World - Debbie Nigro, founder of First Wives World has created a support group for women in different phases of life who are moving "beyond divorce."

11-24 1:15p note: it is an error that this post will not accept comments.comments are open. sent typepad a help request and am waiting for their response. if you have additonal communities you'd like to add to comments please let me know or check back in a few. thanks!

11-24 1:56p note: have not heard frm typepad but comments are working. please ignore the message that says comments are closed and just post. thanks.

11-24 6:35p note: all should be fine. thanks for your patience.

Adding more as I find them.

The Sister Project - network of blogs about the many facets of the word sister, and the concept of sisterhood.

Wellsphere - Women's health community

WomenBloom - inspiring and supporting women to make the most of mid-life

Midlife Bloggers - Women bloggers in midlife

Motrin: A Case Study In Social Media Marketing - Part 2


Update: 11-18-08; Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing apologizes on the home page of Motrin. This is the follow-up post to one I wrote on Diva Marketing on 11-17-08 on how social media changed the direction of a Fortune 500 company's marketing campaign.


As is always the case in a slide down the slippery slope of social media, there are lessons we can take away from the Mortin Moms Social Media Case Study. I've reached out to Bonnie Jacobs, VP Communications and Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing at McNeil Consumer Healthcare offering Diva Marketing as one platform to tell their story. (Btw .. would not be surprised to see someone from the Morin marketing team making the conference rounds.)

The influence of "just" a few thousand people changed the marketing direction of a Fortune 500 company's multiple channel advertising campaign (McNeil Consumer Health is a division of Johnson and Johnson). Within hours of  social media conversations a website had been taken down and put back up with an apology. Plans were in the works to pull print ads and perhaps other initiatives that were set to launch were halted.

Listening to, what went beyond the sentiments of "just" a few thousand bloggers or tweeters, but perhaps reflected a signification segment of Motrin's target audience, may have saved the company some hefty dollars in terms of ultimate goodwill and stopped the ooze of brand erosion before it could spread further online and off.

The social buzz is that the brand team could have responded faster. Perhaps. But for their actions to a Sunday Social Smackout McNeil Consumer Healthcare gets a gold star from Diva Marketing.

In trying to understand what happened, we don't have a lot to go on .. We don't know what research went on prior to the launch of the campaign. We don't know the infra structure or the communication that most certainly flew from site to site to phone to office meetings. We don't know when Mortin's marketers begin to "listen" in on the tweets and blogs or when they first found out. Nor do we know when the decision was made to send the letter to Amy Gates at  Crunchy Domestic Goddess and why Amy and who else received Kathy Widmer's email.

We can only guess the impact that this had and will continue to have on the human resources at McNeil Consumer Healthcare and their marketing parners as they execute their new strategy. We can assume that it will cost a pretty penny in terms of dollar investment.

We also don't know the end of the story. Or perhaps it is really the beginning of the story. What lessons did the Morin marketing team take away from the Mortin Mom's Sunday Social Smackout? What counsel is their agencies giving? Will they embrace the women and men who Helped them avoid an even bigger blow-up? Will they participate in the social media conversations? Currently Motrin's people are messaging one-sided .. there is no dialogue that I can find.

Morin's social media experience reinforces that social media marketing is a complex, multi-faceted strategy.

  1. It is critical to have strong communication systems in place that integrate muliple departments: marketing, PR, customer service, legal, sales, operations, etc.
  2. It is critical to listen and participate in your customers' online exchanges.
  3. It is critical to be humble.

The end game to this post: There is value in the asset: Mortin Moms. Mortin marketing team .. what will you do with that one?

Sidebar: Thanks to Mark Story for posting the updated Mortin website.

Motrin: A Case Study In Social Media Marketing


Subtitle: Motrin's  We Feel Your Pain Ad Campaign Targeted To Moms: Proof of the Influence of Social Media


Today sipping my morning coffee I clicked into Twitter and was intrigued by a tweet from @chrisbrogan.


What I found was a video that was apparently an element of Motrin's We Feel Your Pain campaign that was targeted to moms. <the link to the page has been taken down>



Script: "Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.

Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the body tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t. I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?! I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid."


Surfing over to #MotrinMoms (a summary of tweets tagged with #MotrinMoms) I was overwhelmed. At that time there were 65 pages, with 15 tweets per page, or 975 posts. I can only imagine what the team at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson and Johnson,Tshirt_2 must be feeling.

The majority of tweets were from moms who were Passionately outraged about the video. They felt hey and their babies were being disrespected. 

So passionate that Mamikaze designed t-shirts, mugs, buttons and bags for sale at CafePress. So passionate that Katja created a video of what she felt was should have been the message. In social media style it was uploaded it to YouTube. Before this post went live there were 2014 views.

People are wondeWarrenwhitlock_real_lesson_2ring ..


So .. I've been thinking .. if McNeil Consumer Healthcare were a social media marketing client how would I advise them?

  • First I'd say, especially to Bonnie Jacobs, VP Communications and  Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing - McNeil Consumer Healthcare - take a deep breath and be prepared for some long nights.
  • Second I'd say "listen" to the angst of what should be the community of Motrin Moms.

Sadly, you will learn that you have lost some customers.


You will learn what went wrong for these moms and how they felt.



You will learn from women who were so upset that they took online, tweets and blog posts, offline to main stream media, advertisers and friends.















You will also learn from women who generously offered ideas on what McNeil Consumer Healthcare could have done with the campaign that would have added value and increased brand appreciation.


Laura Fitton aka Pistachio wrote a detailed post that includes a few lessons for the Motrin marketing team:

But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age. Rolling out a new tactic is THE most important time to lend an ear.


From Sarah Browne, Guru of New, more lessons:

The lesson here for corporate America? This didn’t have to happen. All you have to do is ask and Moms will help — with your creative, your research, your buzz.

  • Third, I'd say join the conversation sooner than later. That is the challenge.

Neither Motrin or McNeil Consumer Healthcare have a presence in social media. However, there is the Johnson & Johnson blog - JNJ BTW and the social networking community Baby Center where they could tell their story. Perhaps Twitter is an option .. if they can put people resources against it

How do you reach out to over a thousand people who have written about you? Do you invite a handful of mommies to corporate headquarters and wine and dine them? How do you determine the "influencers?" No matter who you tap there will be hurt feelings.

How do you give back to a community? Maybe you make amens by identifying moms in need. Maybe you do something Big that is Important. Maybe you ask the community's help in identifying what that should be.

The big lesson that we continue to learn

Not stepping into social media especially when a significant, vocal, powerful segment of your market .. IS stepping into social media.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  Charles Darwin

Update: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Responds to Amy Gates, Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Amy posted the email:

   Dear Amy -

    I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

    We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.


    Kathy Widmer
    VP of Marketing - Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
    McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Update: 11-18-08; Kathy Widmer, VP of Marketing apologizes on the home page of Motrin. Part 2 of Motirn: A Case Study in Social Media.


Just Do It - Post #2


Playing off the Nike tag line .. Just Do It early this week I asked a seemingly simple question on Diva Marketing:

In this overwhelming world what One - 1 - I thing would you just do?

The responses ranged from making a commitment to get healthier to writing that book to growing a business to moving to a new city. Michael Rubin's transparent remark - Many times, I find myself held back by fear and the tyranny of past failures. - might underscore why it is so hard for many of us or our clients to Just Do It. Thanks to all who joined in on the conversation.

Apollo11_footprint_big Last week I taught a workshop where the participants were encouraged to identify just one social media tactic to consider including in their marketing plans. For one person it was to place events on Meet-up. What may appear to be a baby step for some was a giant leap for her.

What matters is taking the first step that will create energy, gain momentum and achieve a level of success building on to the next and the next and the next. Sometimes we forget that as we introduce new ideas, such as social media marketing, to internal colleagues and clients  that to Just do it takes more than actions .. it takes belief that "it" can be achieved and often takes courage to do something differently.

We talk so much in the world of social media about listening. It is also important to listen to what is Not said. It is important to acknowledge the risks, the fears, the trepidations. If social media teaches us anything it is that people matter. If that is true we must include sensitivity to feelings.

Often times a little help from a friend can give us ideas on what to do and yes, courage to take the first step. When bringing in new initiatives to your organization involve people who will be impacted by the change or have a role to play. For example a social strategy could involve a team from: legal, PR, operations, customer service, marketing and sales.

Taking this back to the post I did this week .. how can we as a community help our friends take that first step? As a wisdom of crowds (or friends) experience/experiment can you offer an idea or go further with a tangible hand up? Perhaps a time management session, a trial health club membership, a way to plan, a book to read  .. you get my drift. 

Get Healthy

If I could "just do it", I would Get Healthy. -  Michael Rubin

I'd stop talking about how I'm going to do strength training and just do it. I am in the process of just doing it in starting my new business, Pawfun.com. It took me years to get to the point of just doing this, and I am so joyful about it i can hardly describe the feeling. However, like most things worth doing, just doing it is not a one-step thing IMO. BL Ochman

More than 25 years ago (before Nike's famous 'just do it' I worked for a company who handed out the prehistoric version of a blackberry to convention goers. The motto 'Make it Happen." I've lived that motto all my life. So today I say if I had to 'Make it Happen' it will be optimum health. - Susan Cartier Liebel

Write That Book

I would just start the projects that I have dreamed up rather then just dreaming up more projects - oh and I would just write that book. - Jacqueline

Yay! waking up in the morning. For a writer, what can I say, that's an accomplishment. And writing a bit each day. That's how I'll just do it. - AG

I would take my Mom's very good advice and put my butt in a chair to start writing my first novel--or a blog. -
Kate Spencer

I would take 18 months, a digital camera, a small suitcase, and my laptop and study how culture influences fashion strictly by observation. I would take in the local foods and shop at tables along dirt roads, all the while capturing my experience on film. When I returned home I would create my first coffee table book titled "No Fear, Just DIVA - International Edition" and buy a loft with hard wood floors and large windows with a view of the mountains in any city that doesnt get snow - Mei-Li Thomas

Change Residence

I would just...move. (but...do I just move closer to DC? Try South Carolina? Follow friends to San Diego?...it's the extra questions and planning that kills this idea!) - Emma

Make Time

MAKING the time to follow-through I think is important. - Leigh Duncan-Durst

Multiple Responses

As I mentioned in my Tweet, I decided to pose this question to my executive women's networking group (The Goddess Group). Here are the answers I got: jump out of a plane; connect with people authentically; need to "do it" more often; adventure travel; like to "just do it" but, as a woman I often feel too vulnerable either physically or emotionally. And lastly, my own answer... it's my mantra! - Jennifer

Grow A Business

If I could just do it, I'd build a big enough company that I could vacation whenever I wanted and not be there all the time. - Geoff Livingston

I would just finish the "About" page on my new blog venture still under construction!! I'd also do my BlogWorld follow-up plans... - Rebeca Trautner

What are your ideas for Just do it! first steps.

Just Do It - Post #1


Nike What if Nike was right? 

In this overwhelming world what One - 1 - I - thing would you "just do it?"

This is an experiment in synergy. Would love to hear your answer. It can be business or personal. You decide.

Solo Practice University: Bringing Social To Online Education


Social media - It's all about the conversation. Who knows conversation better than those that making their living selling thoughts and words. The Big A-L profession -- attorney/lawyer -- comes to mind. Solo attorneys, like other small business owners, are exploring how to use their words not only as a "product" but as a marketing strategy to build digital relationships.

Needless to say the value in social media conversations are are not necessarily in the number of "billable" words; but rather in the generosity of ideas. Could an attorney build a practice using only only 140 characters at-a-time out reach a la Twitter? Will a 2.1 minute video strategically place on consumer generated video sites like YouTube "work" better than a 4 color brochure? Can participating in social network communities where your clients hang out result in more new business than Chamber of Commerce networking meeting?

Spufaculty240x602 These are the issues that I'll be discussing at Solo Practice University. SPU is a the new, innovative learning online concept developed by Susan Cartier Liebel. Ironically Susan explained her vision of an online university, that supports lawyers who have a solo practice, during a coffee chat just before at my niece's college graduation ceremony. My first thoughts were .. this will change online learning. The second was .. I'd love to play a role.

Today, I am honored to join prestigious colleagues from many different disciplines as we explore one more way to use social media and technology to help people do business smarter.

237 = 1 = A Book On Why Digital Conversations Matter


Aoc2 With the Age of Conversation 2: Why Don't They Get It? Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan seemed to have created a new social media tradition. This is the second year (Age of Conversation 1) that they brought together bloggers to combine talents. 237 bloggers from 15 countries created an important body of work about social media marketing.

But the vision doesn't stop at educating marketers and business professionals about social media marketing. All profits are presented to Variety - the children's charity. The authors, including Drew and Gavin, even agreed no freebies .. if we want to read the book we pay for the book. In addition, the authors promised not to post/publish their page for at least 6-months. But we can provide a snip .. here is mine:

Answers To The Questions You Didn't Ask - by Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing

For the first time, our customers are providing answers to questions that were never asked in formal research studies. We now have additional, valuable insights that can supplement traditional research. However, some marketers dismiss this online chat as irrelevant. Others listen in frozen fascination.

The Age of Conversation 2 is for sale at Lulu at a couple of different price points. What a great holiday gift .. one that offers 237 smart views on social media and gives a feel good knowing that you are also contributing to a non profit for children during the season when more little ones - especially in this economy - will have less.
e-book: US$12.50  ($10.00 to Variety)
paperback book: US$19.95 ($8.02 to Variety)
hardback book: US$29.95 ($4.60 to Variety)

For your reading pleasure please enjoy my page from Age of Conversation - Book 1 Download in_the_age_of_conversation_book_1_a.pdf

Continue reading "237 = 1 = A Book On Why Digital Conversations Matter"

Geezer Guts: Lessons Learned from Social Media By Jane Genova


I meJane_genovat Jane Genova in 2005. At age 60 she was in the midst of a challenging transition stage of her life. Jane's world came crashing down during the last economic crisis. She found herself in a strange new world facing challenges that were not suppose to happen. Taking a dive into blogging she reinvented herself.

In the free eBook, Geezer Guts: Making a Buck No Matter, she tells her story raw .. with no punches pulled. Reading Greezer Guts I couldn't help but think that Jane's lessons learned have come at a time when they can inspire so many people who are now going through similar life challenges. A few of the life lessons learned from social media that even non geezers can take to heart.

  • Business norms change
  • People change too
  • What was right for you yesterday may not be right for you today .. or tomorrow
  • "Just be ourselves. That's plenty."
  • It takes time and courage to learn new skills and a new way of thinking.
  • Life on your terms can be different than what you imagined it to be yesterday.
  • Ghosts from past careers/lives can continue to haunt if you compromise your dignity in the now.
  • Trust in yourself and don't confide your plans to people who may not understand.
  • Success is not always computed in dollars.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • "Being forced into a world we never expected being in seems to have made many of us accidental late bloomers. Adversity has unique transformational power."
  • Take the road less traveled.
  • Your "first job" can happen at any age. "Dump the past. No one is interested in our sad story. Eventually we won't  be either."
  • New networks are a must
  • "What happens happens. The present and future are what we do about it."

Geezer Guts is a quick read .. but an important one. Download it. Read it. Share it with a friend.

Read Jane's 2006 Blogger Story