A Conversation To .. Engage With Grace


It's not a revelation that social media occurs in the digital conversations of the Internet. However, some find it strange that conversations with people who might be more of an acquaintance than one we might call a "friend" often lead to important ideas.

It can be easier to open discussions in the world of blogs, tweets or Facebook where your thoughts fly into cyber space. Sitting across a table, where body language and facial experssions can immediate challenge your views, before words are even spoken can be a big risk.

On this day before Thanksgiving, when the smell of turkey roasting evokes memories of loved ones who broke the wish bone or split the last piece of pumpkin pie with you,  I'd like to suggest a topic of conversation for you to consider. It's the type of discussion that we often shy away from because it brings our vulnerability into play. But it's a conversation that shows how much you care. It's a conversation we need to engage in with grace and caring sooner than later.

Paul Levy, Running A Hospital, once again asked if I would join in the Engage with Care blog rally. This one hits home for me so it is with deep respect for the work of Alexandra Drane and Matt Holt who launched EWC to honor Za Vandenberg that I tell you the ..

Engage With Care Story

Last Thanksgiving weekend, many bloggers participated in the first “blog rally” to promote Engage With Grace – a movement aimed at having all of us understand and communicate our end-of-life wishes.

Over 100 bloggers in the healthcare space and beyond participated. The timing was purposeful since it coincided with a weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these tough conversations – our closest friends and family. 

The original mission – to get more and more people talking about their end of life wishes – hasn’t changed. At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation started. They’re not easy questions, but they are important

However, sometimes it's uncomfortable to start this type of discussion so it might be easier to begin with a bit of levity. To help ease into the tough questions, and in the spirit of the season, here are five parallel questions that ARE easy and fun to answer: 

  Engage with grace _2 jpg

Silly? Maybe. But it underscores how having a template like this – just five questions in plain, simple language – can deflate some of the complexity, formality, and even misnomers that have sometimes surrounded the end-of-life discussion. 

The five questions from Engage With Grace follow. I encourage you to think about them, document them, share them. 

Engage with grace

Some of the stories that the Engage With Grace people have heard are heartfelt. One man shared how surprised he was to learn that his wife’s preferences were not what he expected. You might have a similar story. At the very least you'll know what your loved ones want to do.

I'll end this post as I did last year ..

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

Max and I wish you and yours a most wonderful Thanksgiving.

Follow on Twitter #EWG

9-11 Remember For The Children


For the children then. today. tomorrow. We can not forget.

9 11 children art

Graphic from Downtown Express

For Susan


Sus - Thank you for the gifts you gave and continue to give.

Cup cake m&m

Cupcake from Life in a peanut shell.

TweetChats #socialmedia


Social media tweet chat Add one more virtual place to network to your list .. TweetChats. Oh no! girlfriend you might be thinking not another social media thing to add to my running list .. and what is a tweetchat anyway?

Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends, has a great definition.

  • A tweetchat is simply an organized group chat that takes place using the Twitter platform. Participants use an assigned hashtag (say, #sbbuzz) for their tweets during the discussion.

When Marc Meyer asked me to host one of the most popular Tweetchats this week I said .. of course! Held weekly, Tuesdays from noon - 1p,  #socialmedia explores issues about social media marketing.  The focus this week was on the "hidden demographics" of social media like bebe boomers, women etc. etc. etc.  Title: Deciding the “now what” and the “who with” of social media in your company.

The exchange of ideas was fast, furious, exciting .. and the people .. so smart. Moderating was like running a race while juggling 50 balls in the air. Although #socialmedia is structured around 3 20-minute segments each with a unique question,  it was fascinating to watch the sidebar conversations occurring simultaneously.  The questions:

#1. What demographics are most powerful in each of the top social networks? And Why?
#2. Which demographics are most overlooked, ignored, or taken for granted, in the top tier social networks? Why?
#3. With the increase of social media usage, which demographics will drive innovation in social networking?

I found that our conversation didn't really follow the progression of the questions as much as some other tweetchats might have; but the discussion happened naturally on its own accord. With tosses of a pink boa to the amazing people who generously shared their opinions and experience and to Marc Meyer and Jason Breed the sponsors .. here are my takes of the highlights.


The Baby Boomer generation maybe late in getting to this party but according to comScore there are about 16.5 million adults ages 55 and older engaged in social networking.

@conniereece - All I can say is that marketers need 2 wake up 2 how many boomers R online & how they use socnets. Connie thinks that boomers are the "lost demo" and not only for profits but nonprofits are missing opportunities.

Even in this economy, Boomers have more $ to spend then the X-Yers. Note to brand marketers (and main stream media): Take off your cool shades the internet and social networks are Not only for the "youngsters."

The challenge for brands per @CBWhittemore is to make it .." relevant to baby boomers & others b/c new marketplace imperatives."

The challenge for people who have not grown up with new technologies is understanding how to use the tools. A wrong click will not necessarily bring down the Internet or explode your computer. On a personal level @evelynso shared a great idea .. that might help grandparents have an ah ha! moment. Think of  Flickr or Facebook as a global grandkids brag book.  You get to share those cute photos of your precious darlings with your closet Friends; and if you wish some you might not know yet.

When it comes to How generations use social media platforms we noticed a few differences. - seniors/ Boomers have a different $ management style. Check alternatives - sometimes SM is cheaper & faster. From  @evelynso and @marc_meyers - boomers share content Gen Y shares the intimate details of their lives.

Where are the Boomers hangin' out? Consensus seems to be on Facebook. Very few boomer friends (male or female) on Twitter. For @conniereece - Lots on FB now, and a few on LinkedIn.  @sonnygill thinks that - demos on the more established networks are wider ranged than Twitter is (namely boomers).

Wondering ... will we see a change as Gen Y's and Millenniums' careers shift into management levels and the Boomers become more comfortable with open conversations? Also will Boomers leaving the work force (those that can afford to do so!) result in more transparency in their social media interactions? In other words will the cultures flip-flop?

Gen Y

When it came to Gen Y we thought they were tech savvy but lacking in social media marketing, strategy expertise. @CathyWebSavvyPR - I've heard from some college students that SM is a part of social life, they can't see applications. That was my experience too when I presented social media marketing to an advertising class at UGA.

When it comes to Twitter - @dcgf - I think it's Gen Y who are not very "savvy" w/Twitter. The movers and shakers on here are older...However @CathyWebSavvyPR believes that - I think Gen x/Y will once they begin entering the workforce & needing to use SM. their learning curve may B shorter 

Can Social Media Close the Generation Gap?

Example of one of the sidebar tweet conversations

>At the risk of making assumptions, I'd hazard to say that the ave age of THIS "unConference" is over 35! (don't hate-ha) - @dcgf
>@dcgf as an Mil-gen are you comfortable engaging with the 'older' peeps on twitter? @dcgf could social media be the way to close the generation gap? - @tobydiva
>def closes gen gap and @Mark_Meyer I think all gen's want to feel like they're being engaged on a personal level - @dcgf


We wondered where women were hanging out online and if they were using social media diffently than men. Most of our tweets were based on observation and personal experience. @Verbatim told us that  - Research shows men preferring Twitter and women, FB. Which makes sense to me, FB being more personal details.

@conniereece in regard to Twitter - if you look at *what* men/women post on Twitter, it's different. Women more likely to share, men to broadcast. #socialmedia (generalization). Seems that a guy agrees with Connie - @marc_meyer men generalize and women socialize...?

Tweets were not all serious we had some giggles along the way. @wpmc - Saw a book on communications "Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti" - Facebook is like spaghetti.

@CathyWebSavvyPR brought out an interesting point that brands should consider when using Facebook to reach women.  - I know many women feel that FB is for freinds & family & resent the intrusion of business there. others like it.

Social Media Marketing

We also talked about what is social media? @greenhance offered an interesting concept - Altho I've no proof, I think SM adoption is personality driven. Some are more likely to use Twitter, others FB, etc.

@marc_meyer looked at in from this point of view - Twitter is 4 biz Linkedin is 4 networking, FB is the playground, or something like that. any1 remember the analogy?

When it comes right down to it people agreed with @ddeseta - It's not about the most followers. It's about having the most relevance within yoursphere. and with @mrochte  - It's about convening not controlling #SocialMedia " - that's the message we need to understand  http://on.ted.com/y  mrochte

When it came down to what to make of the "hidden demographics" @greenhance reminded us - Brands can cultivate real loyalty with SM in a way that was previously limited by geography/reach.  Social media is one aspect of marketingmarketing basics.

To wrap this up it's back to marketing basics - know who your customers are/where they hang out/what they want. @tobydiva Be careful of what you think you know..  your truth might be an illusion.


Tweet Stream

Business Week Social Media Gender Gap
Pew Internet has extensive stats on social media
Forrester Social Technology Profile ToolJohn Cass for the link!

Blogher 2009 Women and Social Media Study

Diva Marketing's 5th Anniversary! Who would have thought?


Champagne flutes Pop a Cork For The New Diva Marketing Blog. Five years today - May 19, 2004 - that was the head line I wrote for the first post on Diva Marketing.

As my story goes .. I launched Diva Marketing as an experiment because my friend Dana VanDen Heuvel told me I couldn't talk about blogs in workshops I was conducting unless I was active in the space. I pretty much told Dana he was daft. I mean I can talk about any marketing strategy if I understand what it's about. Dana said blogs were different and in order to establish credibility I had to participate in this thing called a "converstation."

What did I really need with a blog .. I had a website!? However I did want to understand the logistics so I launched Diva Marketing. I quickly realized that the website with the funny name was not like any other marketing strategy I knew. Dana was right to "get it" you had to roll your sleeves up and dive in .. watching from the sidelines wasn't going to cut it.

Thanks to you .. five years later the experiment is still around. Diva Marketing turned into not only a learning playground but a labor of love and one of the first blog brands. Personal branding female power brands Who would have thought?

Thanks to you .. for enriching my life. If anyone had told me that some of my dearest friends would live oceans and miles way in India, Europe, Australia, Canada as well as across the country from NYC to St. Louis to San Diego and just around the corner in Atlanta too .. no way Girlfriend would I have believed that one!

Thanks to you .. for impacting my personal and business life and for the opportunity to work with marketers all over the States helping them understand that the importance of blogs/social media.

Here are a few of the Looking Back Lessons that I share with you today.

11 Looking Back Lessons About Social Media Marketing

1. Opening the doors and windows to allow your employees to hear the unfiltered voices of your customers can bring unexpected insights leading to stronger brands, new products/services ideas even more responsive customer service.

2. Management's trust in their employees to represent the brand value in an authentic but respectful manner is the foundation of a social media strategy. This may mean different hiring values and more transparency in the strategic direction of the company.

3. Traveling the social media marketing road alone, without a someone who understand the culture of the "villages" where you want to engage, can do more harm than good.

4. Social media gives more than it takes if you're willing to come out from your walled garden and engage with your customers. No eating M&Ms behind the 2-way mirror .. it's a time for sharing your candy.

5. You can set house rules for blogs and social networking communities and still be "real."

6. People want to know they matter. Social media creates ways to show your customers you care about their concerns and feelings.

7. To succeed social media must be given the same respect and made accountable just as any other marketing strategy. Set strategy that includes: goals, execution expectations of your staff, measures of success.

8. Measures of success may be different from traditional marketing, especially direct response .. but it's okay to view success differently.

9. You can color outside the lines and take risks to try new ways to do it .. IF you stay true to your brand, are transparent, authentic, honest and believe in the conversations you are starting.

10. You don't have to do every thing at once. Review social media tactics with the view point of how they can support your goals. Start with your "digital home" and build out from there. For some organizations that may be Facebook, for others a blog and for some Twitter or ... you fill in the blank. What can you do within your current enterprise's culture and resources of human capital, time and money?

11. Social media puts the heart and soul into marketing.The real power behind social media is in building and nurturing relationships.

Help Me Celebrate Year Five!

Ignore everybody There should be a way to pop a cork on a bottle of champagne when a blog turns five. There should be a special way to celebrate a milestone in the digital world. So what should we do?

Tossing this back to you. Drop your ideas in comments I have presents for the folks whose ideas we use - the soon to be released book, Ignore Everyone, by Hugh MacLeod gapingvoid and perhaps some Johnny Depp inspired brownies and Pink boa a pink boa!

  • "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."  Katharine Hepburn

Kisses to our moms in the stars


Stars  "Social media" combined with Web 2.0 technology offers new ways to communicate with each other and in doing so we are reminded that "we are not alone." That someone hears us. That we share experiences. That we matter. Some smart marketers, who are responsible for brands, are beginning to understand that this form of communication can be a powerful "strategy."

Popping into Facebook this afternoon I saw Christine Lacombe's  wall post and it resonated with me. 

  • "Mom, you are no longer with me on the physical plane, but I carry your heart forever in my heart. I love you, Mommy."

Then I saw JessicaRobyn's tweet - 

  • going to visit my mummy soon =(

The very heart of social media (or the tools that have been developed) was never meant for marketers to bring our brands to market. They were created for people to engage with people - from Twitter to Facebook to blogs and more.They are one more way in the early 21st century that people can emotionally touch & connect with each other across miles and cultures.

Christine's wall post added one more thread to our virtual relationship tapestry. Jessica's tweet is my heart - (Tears to Smiles for Susan) Today is Mother's Day. A day that celebrates the women who are special in our lives. Christine reminded us that today should also be about the women who were special in our lives .. and will always be so.

This post sends kisses to the stars where my mummy and Jessica's & Scott's, Christine's, Polli's, Marianne's, Bobbi's. Kaye Ellen's, C.K.'s, Sybill's, Kate's, Hilleratte's, Chris', Arline's, Auntie Barbara's and perhaps yours or someone you might hold dear is dancing and smiling.

Marketers as you explore using social media to bring your products and services to the marketplace keep in mind that you're not just creating an advertisement or a crafting a media release. If you are authentic, transparent and genuine you are demonstrating that your customers matter. How powerful is that?

Friday Fun: For the Heart, Head & Soul


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Too many wonderful things happening in the virtual world not to pass along from fun contests to help non profit causes to quirky ways to grow your business.

NonProfit - For The Heart

Alex brown_2 Alex Brown is no stranger to social media. In 2005, he created one the first higher ed blogs, Wharton MBA Admissions Blog, He was one of the first to incorporate student blogs as a support tactic when he taught marketing at University of Delaware. But it was his beyond successful blog for Barbaro the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner who was put to rest too soon. One could say that blog changed Alex's life and let to a mission to create awareness about the slaughter horse issue.

Alex Brown Racing is sponsoring a YouTube contest. Videos will be accepted from Tuesday, February 10 to Noon Friday April 10. The grand prize is $1,000 to be donated to the horse rescue organization of choice of the winning entry. Even if you don't enter, stop by and view the entries .. some wonderful videos have been submitted.

The Animal Rescue Site is challenged to sustain its click campaign. A click will help provide food and care to sick pets.  And then because you're feeling so good to have done good go to PawFun and design a t-shirt to show off your own pet. If you hurry you can save 30%!

Small Business Success - For The Head

Ideablob is one of the most innovative uses of combining social media with small business. There are two parts. One:  Within the public forum entrepreneurs ask the business community at-large for advice. Two: The community votes on the best business concept. The $10,000 prize is no small accomplishment to win with stiff competion. The current contest closes on 3-31-09. I had the honor of being one of the featured guest advisors. The site is sponsored, very discreetly, by Advanta.

When if comes to helping small business owners Heidi Richards Mooney is one of the champions. Her online publication and community WE magazine for women, has influenced thousands of women (and men) with its rich content, online conferences and networking support. Heidi recently released the eBook Quirky Marketing Calendar 2009 as a resouce for ways to create fun, innovativemarketing  strategies.

So you've got an idea for a light web-based business and didn't win the $10K Ideablob contest. My pal Dave Williams is involved in a new angel fund venture that might be right for you if you are a small business owners in the Atlanta area. Want to learn more? Shotput Ventures is holding an open house 3-3-9.  If nothing else their Facebook invite page sure looks like it will be good networking!

Looking for a couple more social media and marketing tips ? Check my guest post, in Tsufit's Step Into The Spotlight series.

In today’s world where clutter is the norm and marketing managers are scrambling to get their brands noticed stepping to the side of the lime light just might be the way to get into the spot light. By that I mean before you take center stage understand the basics:

1. Who are your customers and prospects?

2. What makes your brand unique to your customers?

3. Where do your customers hang out?

The answers, to what may first appear as simple questions, become the cornerstone of your successful marketing strategy. Traditionally organizations discovered those elusive secrets through marketing research studies or mining internal data sources. However, social media research or listening to the raw conversations of your customers provides marketers with an additional resource.  Read more at - Step into the Spotlight post

The Arts - For The Soul

The arts are recognizing that social media is a wonderful way to engage and build an audience. By letting patrons glimpse a view from behind the curtain they can but buts in the seats. Broadway is catching on too! Sure have come a long way from when Elisa Camahort, the fonder of BlogHer, launch the blog for 42nd Street Moon (Theatre) in 2004. Jane Fonda is sharing her backstage and onstage experiences on her blog and in tweets. The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta often runs contests on their blogs. Ford's Theatre is on YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter!

Sl shakespeare twelfth night When it comes to theatre and innovation the (Second Life) SL Shakespeare Company must win the Virtual Tony for innovation. The mission of this troupe of professional actors is to make Shakespeare cool again! The performances take place "in-world" at SL Globe Theatre wich is a virtual reconstruction of the Original Globe Theatre.

The SL Shakespeare Company’s long-awaited open-ended run premiers Sunday, March 1 at 1 PM PST, and will continue indefinitely every Sunday at 1 PM PST and every Tuesday at 6 PM PST at the SL Globe Theatre. Read more at the SL Shakespeare blog.

.. and so we'll let Shakespeare have the final word.

No profit grows where no pleasure is ta'en;
In brief, sir, study what you most affect.

William Shakespeare The Taming of the Shrew

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

Blog Action Day - Using Social Media To Charge The Conversation


Blog_action_day We talk, some times ad nauseam, about the community of the blogosphere. Well today, October 15, 2008 thousands and thousands of bloggers across the global are joining together to support Blog Action Day - a non-profit event. Blog Action Day was launched last year when two bloggers asked, “What would happen if all the bloggers of the world united for a single cause?”

  • Blog Action Day 2008 focuses on raising awareness and initiating action to combat Poverty.

Act Locally. Think Globally.  Change The Conversation

Blog_for_food_blog Act Locally

Grayson Daughters interviews Bill Bolling, Founder and Exec. Director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. A few snippets from their inspirational talk. Facebook Blog For Food

Having bloggers and networks is going to make this like nothing we've seen in the past."

We can't say now these are not people like us.

We are all called to do the best of what we have.

Anybody can do something from where they are.

These kinda sessions tells me we're going to use a new technology, a new kind of people ..

Think Globally

Digital Photography School - 17 images of poverty

Twitter Blog Action Day

Fund Raising on Kiva

Change The Conversation

IBMNA post by Easton Ellsworth

12-hour marathon BlogTalk internet radio show - Time: 12p - 12a

Act Locally Think Globally Change The Conversation