I’ve been an avid fan of social media and inbound marketing for the past four years and a news hound all of my life. But that all changed when my favorite Olympic sport of competitive swimming was being played out on the international stage all last week. Suddenly I found myself turning away from any twitter or Facebook updates after mid-day (prime time in the U.K.). Some swift radio channel changing for me throughout the day was coupled with no evening news. Why? One of my favorite parts about the once-every-four year event is piling on the couch with my family (including the dog) covering us with an enormous, plush blanket, and “swimming” every race, stroke by stroke, with these great athletes. I’m probably more fanatical than most, having swam competitively all through high school and college. I wanted to cheer and fist pump for Missy Franklin without the knowledge that she actually sealed the gold five hours before.(Granted, I did watch her fun-filled “Call Me Maybe” YouTube Video before the Olympics got underway.) I was rooting for Michael Phelps to capture gold in the 200 I.M. and 100 meter butterfly without any spoilers letting me know the final results. Clearly I was not alone. When I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal last week I felt a camaraderie of spirit. There were others of all ages out there who gently held their fingers to their ears when the conversation turned Olympian. They too wanted a shared experience in the living room rather than a solitary one at the computer.

“Don’t tell me any results if you know them,” I would gently warn anyone who started speaking to me about the the doings in London. “I want to watch swimming tonight with my family.” Now that it’s over I’ve gone to Michael Phelps’ twitter feed and seen his gorgeous girlfriend. I’ve added Missy’s photo to my Pinterest page.

Four years from now who knows how the Olympics will be broadcast to us from Rio?  TV as we know it will likely go the way of the typewriter. But for the 2012 Olympics, I still enjoyed watching Phelps and cheering on TeamUSA surrounded by my family, and perhaps being one of the few in America who didn’t already know the ending.

Continue Reading


Jim Kouzes speaking at ETSU, Courtesy: ETSU Photo

One thing has resonated with me since I heard Jim Kouzes, co-author of The Leadership Challenge, speak a few weeks ago at East Tennessee State University; that is the fact that we are all leaders. Think about it. Even if you say “I’m ‘just’ a mom/housewife/dad/older sibling, etc. we exert tremendous influence on those around us. And, as Scott Starnes said in last week’s post, “leadership is influence.” This is the final post in my month-long March blog theme of leadership. I’d like to thank my guest bloggers, Scott, a student of John Maxwell’s, and also Ken Fairbanks who covered new methods of online learning and leadership in education.

In reflecting on the subject of leadership, I took time to consider the best leaders/bosses I ever had and came up with these seven tips that a good leader/boss does.

  1. Communicate with your troops- Top leaders are open to communications. They know that open doors and open communications channels are always better than stonewalls.
  2. Hire bright people- Top bosses generally brag about hiring those who are better than they are. Put the “right people on the bus” as Jim Collins says and watch where they’ll go.
  3. Emphasize the positive– In my career I’ve had many bosses who were eager to share and point out the negative. That’s human nature I suppose. But the boss I clearly remember wrote, “Great job Mel!” on post-it notes. What a day brightener! I tacked those post-it notes to my office bulletin board.
  4. Give credit where it is due- The best bosses aren’t intimidated by smart employees (see #2 above.) They gladly share praise and credit for good ideas.
  5. Know how to build consensus- Inevitably you have to work with many different personalities, whether it’s at home or in a business setting. Look for ways to pull them together. Something as simple as a regular meal together can be a team booster.
  6. Be honest and expect honesty of those around you– It’s amazing how people will live up (or down) to your expectations of them. Throughout my career the trickle down effect of leadership holds true; it’s the leader’s actions and integrity that permeate the business.
  7. You are influencing others whether you know it or not- This is a personal anecdote. One day several years after our first meeting,  I re-connected with a woman in her role as a newspaper reporter. She told me how much I had influenced her to become a journalist. I was actually shocked because I barely remembered our earlier meeting. You never know when you may be influencing others. Today we regularly influence others online through the digital footprint we create on our social media channels.

Exercise: Close your eyes and think about someone over whom you have influence. Is is positive? Is it for good? Or do you need to modify your leadership style?  Take action today. They are watching you as their role model.

Continue Reading


Editor’s note: The following is a guest blog post written by Leadership expert and consultant, Dr. Scott Starnes. His model is particularly timely in light of the upcoming Holy Week and Easter observances. Scott is a business acquaintance whom I respect. I was a participant in one of his recent leadership seminars and invited him to guest blog for me. I do not take part in affiliate marketing. 

During antiquity, people traveled by foot, often wearing sandals that would allow for the collection of dust onto the travelers’ feet. There were servants whose jobs were specifically to wash the feet of their masters before the masters entered their homes, or the homes of others. One person, Jesus, taught the concept of servant leadership by washing his followers’ feet during a feast. Afterwards, he explained that it was necessary to wash others’ feet as a symbolic act of leading them. In other words, to truly lead others, one must become a servant-leader.

John C. Maxwell, author of the best-selling book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, defined leadership as nothing more than influence. As leaders, we must understand that this influence is the basis upon which many of our relationships are built.

My question to you is, “What are you doing daily to influence the lives of others?” I believe that if we are to cultivate these relationships, we need to be keenly aware of others’ needs, and actively seek opportunities to serve them. The question behind the question in this scenario becomes,  “What are you doing daily to serve others who follow you?” Are you the type of leader who leads from the front, often dictating what, when and how something is to be done? Or, are you the leader who leads from the back or from the center of those who follow you, with a true servant’s heart?

These questions are not easy to answer, nor are they particularly what most people want to hear when thinking about being in a position of leadership. My suggestion is to identify and jot down the names of five to ten people whose lives you regularly influence. Then, identify three ways that you may add value to them each day over the next twenty-one days. In other words, make it a habit to add value to others every day. You are in the position to add tremendous value to their lives, but remember that it begins with service. If you find it difficult to jot down those names, you may have a challenge within you that needs to be addressed. However, if you can truly say that you serve those who follow you, you can be assured that you will continue to influence, or lead, them from a rock-solid foundation.

Dr. Scott Starnes


Dr. Scott Starnes is one of only 1700 certified John Maxwell coaches, speakers, and trainers worldwide. His passion is to provide real solutions to others by adding value to their lives while coaching and training them to lead others more effectively. If you would like more information about Scott, or how he can add value to you or your business, visit his website: http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/scottstarnes, or email him at .


Continue Reading


A dad takes out his anger on his daughter's laptop

The following is a guest blog post from 7 Waves Cathy Founder, Cathy Rodgers

How Social is That & What Would Dave Ramsey Do?

By Cathy Rodgers

With the viral spread of a dad trying to teach his daughter a lesson on Facebook, it gives one pause to think of what the long-term effects of social media are, and what the long-term effects are on all the relationships involved.

Is this too much family information gone public?  What is the impact of all this personal information sharing?  Where does it all end?

Many view the incident of shooting the daughter’s computer as a total act of anger, but as a parent myself, I view this as a total waste of money (plus I know I will have to shell out money for something later because teenagers are not cheap). Having a lot of friends who are Dave Ramsey providers, I receive frequent tips, hints, and “think before you do that” lessons.  I wonder what the financial guru himself would say?


All opinion aside, people from all over the nation have either sided with this father or decided to hate him.  The sad thing is the father is a small business owner, yet has generated as much hate and love as a politician.  I wonder if he is prepared for the impact this will have on his business?  This could be considered a PR crisis for him and his family.


Here are a Few Insights


  1. If you are a business owner, everything you do or say on social media channels can be judged in relation to the image of your business.  You may be the best at what you do, but business is conducted based on relationships.
  2. Relationships tend to have a “ripple” impact within a business community.  If the talk of the cocktail party is the video dad and some think he is a “psycho” or “angry,”  yet others already have loyalty to the business, will that lead to loyal clients sending more business referrals as they put their own reputation on the line?
  3. Even if the father decides to get out of the limelight and takes down the You Tube video and deletes his personal Facebook page, will it all be forgotten?  At this stage, the whole subject has achieved the “tipping” point in information sharing and can continue to be talked about as much as murder in a small town.
  4. What is the impact on others?  This short list shows how far reaching social media really is. I wonder if the father thought about the impact this video would have on all the people affected (and how they digest and respond to the information within their own homes and families).  Let’s take a look at just a few of those impacted by this video:
    1. His own daughter, Hannah.
    2. All members of Hannah’s immediate and extended family.
    3. All of Hannah’s close friends.
    4. The parents and grandparents of those friends.
    5. Hannah’s church family (or sports teams).
    6. People who do business with the father.
    7. People who live and work in the town they live in.
    8. Vendors and business partners of the father.
    9. The teachers in the school Hannah attends.
    10. Hannah’s future opportunities for high school, employment and college.
    11. More …

I invite you to view this video for yourself.  Do you see relationship building here?

Cathy Rodgers, 7 Waves Cathy


Cathy Rodgers is the owner of Seven Waves Marketing, a Social Media, PR, and Online Marketing Co. established in 2009. Cathy has over 20 years of experience broadcasting stories through copywriting outlets: newspapers columns, blogging, social media, and photography outlets. Visit Seven Waves Marketing or look for @7wavescathy on Twitter

Continue Reading


I had the privilege of attending the first Hubspot Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston in September 2008. That conference was a true “game changer” for me as I heard both Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott telling those of us interested in social media marketing that we were on the edge of something big. It was a pleasure to return three years later to realize how true their words really were and to see how far we as professional marketing and communications people have come. (You can see my video interview from IMS11 on The Pulse Network here.)

Over the course of the next few weeks I plan to share nuggets of information about the outstanding thought leaders who spoke to us.

I’ll start with my favorite, noted social media marketing guru and author Guy Kawasaki. (Guy truly had “rock star” status at this conference as attendees, myself and friend Cathy Rodgers included, lined up to meet him.)

Guy Kawasaki at IMS11 with MarketingMel and 7wavesCathy

In preparation to hear Guy I read his book “Enchantment.” Like all authors, they talk about their latest book when onstage. But Guy has a disarmingly charming way about him that keeps you mesmerized by his stories. He is, well, enchanting.

Here are 10 of my takeaways:

1. Likeability: Have a marvelous smile (Mari Smith’s charming smile was his example), dress equal to your peers and pefect your handshake.

Facebook guru Mari Smith has a great smile

2. Achieve Trustworthiness:  Become bakers, not eaters. (Great word picture isn’t it?) Trust others. Default to “Yes. How can I help you?”

3. Perfect your product. He used the Ford MyKey program in which parents can pre-set the volume and top speed of a car as an example. Provide value. It is much easier to enchant with really good stuff!

4. Have a mantra. Guy’s is “empower people.” What’s yours?

5. Conduct a pre-mortem. Ask “why will our product fail?” Come up with all of the reasons beforehand to ensure its success!

6. Plant many seeds. I loved this one. Guy talks about how Marketing 1.0 meant “sucking up to a traditional media hierarchy.” Marketing 2.0 with the power of social networking is flat. The people make it successful and “nobodies are the new somebodies.”

7. Enchant all the influencers!  He gave us a homework assignment to watch Justin Bieber’s movie “Never say Never.” (I did Guy!) Justin and his team enchanted all of the influencers from viewers of his YouTube videos to moms, to girls in parking lots who wanted tickets.

8. Invoke Reciprocation: When you do something for someone and they say “thank you” say, “I know you would do the same for me.”  Think about the power in that line! Then enable people to pay you back.

9. Presentations: Sell your dream! Guy says that Steve Jobs didn’t sell an iPhone he sold something cool and thin and sexy.  Customize your introduction every time and keep your presentation to the 10-20-30 rule; 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font.

10. Use technology to enchant. Don’t make it hard for people to engage with you. He talked about removing the speed bumps and obstacles to communicatingWhat was really humorous was that Guy was given a stick mic for his presentation. He is used to wearing a lapel mic. so his hands can be free. After several comments from Guy, the conference organizers got the hint, removed “the obstacle,” and presented him with a lapel mic.  “Social media is core to existence,” he said. (And Facebook has certainly proven that again with its recent change announcements at F8.)

Although Guy said much more these were a few of my key takeaways. Do you plan to move forward on at least one of these in order to become more enchanting to your employees, customers and loved ones? I do!


Continue Reading


I’m taking a deep breath as I begin creating this post with the knowledge that I may lose a “real” friend or two in what I’m about to write. I know this from first hand experience because I’ve already lost one “friend” over the same subject nearly a year ago. But here goes….it’s my opinion, shaped after years in professional communications with the past several of those spent immersed in the online world of communications and social media.

So here it is: I don’t want to be friends with your 8 year old on Facebook. Here’s why:

1. The Rules: Facebook states that you are supposed to be 13 years old in order to have your own account. I realize many people think rules were made for others and not for them but it’s handy to have a rule to point to when taking a position.

Granted, I know Mark Zuckerburg wants to lower the Facebook age limit (who wouldn’t when they’re selling advertising?) I did come across this excellent article from Psychology Today while researching this blog post that should help parents of tweens make informed decisions for their child as they contemplate them creating a Facebook presence.

2. Lies and Damn Lies: If you ignore Rule #1 above then you are teaching your child to create falsehoods from the start. (As you know, Facebook asks for a date of birth and the child obviously can’t use their real DOB.) OK so it may be  just a “teeny white lie” but….

3. Cognitive Reasoning: I am amazed at the number of adult friends I have on Facebook who fall for some of the scams I’ve seen going around (remember the one about Osama Bin Laden?) Well, if adults fall for these hoaxes, how easy would it be to mislead a child? Furthermore do you recall Piaget’s thoughts on logic from your Psyche. 101 class? He says children really begin to think logically around the age of 12.

4. Not everybody’s your friend: Where do I start? Anyone seen the news lately? If you have then you know what I’m talking about. My heart still aches for the parents of the eight year old who walked seven blocks to his day camp in New York only to meet his killer along the route.

5. There are bad viruses and bad people out there: It’s true. I have seen them both but I’d just as soon shield your 8 year old from them. Heaven help us if we should accidentally pass on or connect a child to a virus. Parents, in case you’ve had your head in the sand be sure to check out this article Should I Cancel My Kids’ Facebook Account?

6. Should kids really know all my business? I’ve shared this thought with friends who feel the same way. We have nothing to hide but do you always want a little kid in the room while you’re having a conversation with adults?

7. I love kids! Although some of you may think otherwise, I actually love children very much and am a parent myself. That’s why I’m writing this post. Better to err on the side of caution and keep all of our kids safe.

Finally, I had been thinking about writing this when I ran across that Psychology Today post above about the all-knowing world we now live in. What the author says to tweens and teens is spot on in my opinion. But let’s start thinking even a few years younger as little Johnny and Suzy create the profile that will follow them the rest of their lives.

Continue Reading