Gen Wise Perspective

Gen Y's perspective (pun intended) on our journey through work, life, and everything in between.

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What’s the best way to stick to New Year’s resolutions?

With the Christmas rush finally at a close, it’s time to start looking ahead to the new year approaching us. Like many, I usually have huge goals for myself in January, but come March they are all just distant memories. This year, it’s time to make some attainable goals and stick to them. Since I needed solid advice for sticking to my plans, I turned to my Twitter friends. They gave me some awesome tips, check them out here:

Bex Allen

“Make ’em small and make ’em with a buddy.”

Christa Marzan

“Last year, I did some blog posts about how mine were going. Announcing them publicly normally guilts you into keeping them.”

Ashley Haynes

“1) Make it reasonable & reachable 2) Get someone else involved – partners are good to push each other!!”

Seth Drury

“Try to find some group/partner resolutions to follow or share your list with friends in order to keep the goals in check.”

Jenn McTigue

“If you tell a lot of people what you want to do you’ll have to do it. Picture yourself achieving your goal before you go to bed and you’re more likely to achieve it.”


“Take it on a day-to-day basis and expect to falter, dont think that if broken once, twice, etc that means you’ve blown it.”

Angie C.

“Tell someone else about your resolution so that way you have someone that can help you with it or motivate you with it. Or for me if someone knows what I want to do and loves the idea I would hate to let not only myself down but them as well.”

Sarah Haverkamp

“Decide on a resolution that is attainable. Also surround yourself with people who can support you in sticking to your goal.”

An P

“Set one goal, that is the best way.”

Matt Lindner

“Be very, very specific with what you want to accomplish. Has to be a change in your life that you’ve needed to make. It can’t be something that’s impossible, otherwise you’ll give up way before and wind up just as unhappy.”

Keith Stoeckeler

“Write them down and post where you can see the paper daily. Track your progress (probably an app for that). Also important to give yourself small rewards to appreciate your progress thus far and keep yourself motivated for completion.”

Elliot Volkman

“I find setting a timeline and making goals help.”

Brian Santiago

“My best way to keep my New Years resolution are Post-Its……I love em! I stick em in random places to remind myself daily!”

So even if you aren’t making resolutions this year (like my friend Paul), you could still use these tips for any type of goal setting. My personal tip is to stay positive no matter what. If your goal isn’t turning out the way you planned, maybe you should look at how you are approaching it.

Thanks to C Falco for helping me get the word out about this post!

Good luck everyone and Happy New Year! : )


What exactly is a “trend”?

In one of the first posts on our blog, Jackie asked what the term “social” really even meant. With yesterday’s Mashable article about the top trends of 2010 being released, it lead me to think. What really makes something a trend?

The first place I decided to look was the good ole’ fashioned dictionary (well actually, the digital version. I know I know, sign of the times). Trend is defined as, “to tend to take a particular direction; extend in some direction indicated.” In the world of social media, a trend is when a topic becomes so popular that it is the most talked about, tweeted about, and buzzed about thing on the internet.

Based on the Mashable data, the top 5 trends of the year were:

  1. Gulf Oil Spill
  2. FIFA World Cup
  3. Inception
  4. Haiti Earthquake
  5. Vuvuzela

Although I was happy Justin Bieber wasn’t number one (even if he came in at number eight) it was still an interesting mix of trends. It’s amazing what ideas will bring people together. From the Gulf Oil Spill to the glorious sound of the Vuvuzela, there were definitely a lot of opinions about the year’s biggest events. But does one hot topic necessarily mean that something is a trend? I feel that a trend should have strong enough staying power that it can be in history books years after it is talked about. Some trends on Twitter last a day, sometimes only an hour. Some are trending for weeks. I feel the top 5 are strong enough to be put in a history book with some sort of relevance to this year.

For a trend to stay strong, the amount of content and information that is being shared must be strong, informative, and relevant. If it’s not, your trend will be knocked out by the next news idea. Or by Justin Bieber.

What are your thoughts on trends? Do you think the top 5 of the year are justified?

In other trends news, check out some Twitter trends that made me laugh.


Did Facebook get it right this time?

A few weeks back, I wrote about how Facebook was launching a new “social inbox” feature. At that time, I was a little annoyed with Facebook, since it seemed like they were trying to take the place of my beloved Google. Although that has not launched yet, Facebook has come out with some other new changes.

On Sunday’s 60 Minutes, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the newest layouts for Facebook profiles. The new layouts have personal information at the top of the screen, instead of on an info page. They also have while also having a similar look to the new group pages. Group pages have advanced in that now you can upload docs, have group chats, and give out mailing-list style notifications. This is great for organizations of large sizes that need a place to talk and ask questions that no one else can see.

These new changes lead me to think, could Facebook be making big changes for the better?

Usually when Facebook unveils a new look, you get hundreds of thousands of people who take to the internet to complain about it. They think the new layout is confusing, or they feel the changes are unnecessary. There are even sites the usually help you switch back to an old layout. But these new changes make me like Facebook more. I like that there is an information bar at the top that tells people who you are and what you do. It’s up to you how much or how little to put there, so no one can complain about their privacy being invaded. There is also a bar underneath the information bar with your most recent tagged photos. This can show all of your friends what you have been up to, and what is new in your life (don’t worry, you can still make your pictures private if you want to).  Overall, I feel the new look is growing with the times, showing what is important to people in prominent places on the site.

What do you think of the new Facebook profiles? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of Mashable.

If you still haven’t changed your Facebook profile and want to, you can change it here.

When is it time to switch up your strategy?

As many people know, I am a huge theater nerd. I’m always reading up on the latest shows/premieres, and this week “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” a musical, was the newest show to open for previews in New York City.

The show has had its problems in the process, from costing an estimated $65 million to create, to having constant push backs on the opening date. The show’s first premiere Sunday opened with 5 stops throughout the show, and opened 24 minutes late.

Granted I love Broadway, and I think the show is an awesome idea, when is it time to rethink your strategy? The show has already opened to critics giving it the thumbs down due to actor safety, time of construction, and the fact that the show cannot even tour due to cost of moving the set around. Should the show rethink its set? Or should it try it out for awhile and see what happens?

This is the same question you should ask yourself about social media strategy. Let’s say you have an awesome vision for a way to execute. If you are building up a blog or a Twitter to get your name out there, is your strategy working? Or are you wasting too much money (or in this case time) on an idea that will not be executed well?

Let’s say you have been building up a blog/Twitter for 3 months. If you don’t see a rise in pageviews/followers in that time, rethink your approach. Are you inviting people to your blog, or are you just constantly posting the same article? Letting people know your blog is there and to check it out will help you grow your following. Also, what kinds of followers are you trying to attract on Twitter? Make sure your posts would be of interest to them if they are the crowd you want to engage. There is nothing wrong with self promotion on Twitter, just make sure you are sending out the right message to the crowd.

The great thing about social media is that you can try out hundreds of different approaches and it won’t cost you a dime. When you do figure out the right approach for you, be sure to stick with it. Consistency is key, especially in a world where there are millions of others trying to get their names out there.


What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving! This is just a quick post to thank all of our readers for tuning in (or should I say clicking in?) and listening to us rant. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys.  We truly are thankful for each and every one of you!

Jackie and I will both be heading out to visit family this weekend (and watching NFL games of course), so good luck to all those cooking and happy shopping to those going out on Black Friday. Jackie and I will be attending both an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party and a Mad Men themed holiday party next month. Look forward to some pictures from those…

Do you use your social networks for social good?

Today’s blog post is inspired by one of my favorite social media/PR correspondents, Sarah Evans. Sarah, who is one of the most social, kind hearted people in the industry, heard about the fire that destroyed Eva’s Bridal in Oak Lawn Illinois on Wednesday. She decided to not only Tweet that she would loan out her own wedding dress to a bride in need, but also set up a Google Document where people can come and add their bridal gowns to the list, loaning them out to brides who are now left without dresses. Right now there are over 300 people on the list to loan out their dresses.

This heartwarming story lead me to think – do you ever use your social networks to help out others?

I’m not saying you have to start tweeting about things you aren’t passionate about just because you think others will appreciate it, but look at your personal profile and ask yourself: what image of myself is the internet seeing? You may think you have your social networks under control, but what does the world see? It’s a great thing to stop and think about. So before you tweet that complaint about your burnt bagel, maybe just tweet something positive that’s happened in your day. And besides, do you really want to be known as the person online who complains about everything? Having a positive voice on the internet can only lead to greater things.

This concludes my public service announcement for the day. Everyone have a great weekend!

Team Facebook vs. Team Google: Which side are you on?

I don’t mean to pick sides, but this is an interesting topic.

Today, Facebook announced the launch of their e-mail/inbox service. Even though they are calling it a “social inbox” instead of e-mail, each user will have an address. Honestly, I’m not too excited about it.

Although I am a social media nerd who is obsessed with new ways of meeting and interacting with others, it will be hard for me to want to use a Facebook e-mail account. To me, Facebook is a place to see what is new with my friends and family, and keep up on the latest events my friends are attending and promoting. If I want to talk to someone personally and privately, I send them a message. It’s as simple as that.

Besides that, Facebook doesn’t really have the privacy issues under control yet, and I am always constantly checking to see how mine are set to make sure I am not giving out information I don’t want to. I’d say step one would be to get privacy orders managed. That way you have the users trust and they know they can trust the service. When I polled my Facebook friends/Twitter users yesterday, 90% said they would not use a Facebook e-mail/messaging account because of privacy issues.

Another point that was raised was that G-Mail already has e-mail under control for many. With the amount of free space available, a chat option integrated, and fast connectivity already in place, most G-Mail users will stay right where they are.  And how could you blame them? I am totally on Team Google for that reason alone. I don’t need to set up an entirely new e-mail account, let alone have another account I have to check.

Don’t get me wrong, I still spend countless hours on Facebook each week. I just feel the need isn’t there for an e-mail account. Maybe once they roll out the plans for it there will be more rationale behind it, but for now I am on the fence.

What do you think?

In other e-mail related news, AOL announced a new launch of their e-mail service. You can read more about that here.

Are we ready to get rid of print completely?

Last week, U.S. News & World Report, a monthly news print publication, announced it will no longer be distributing print copies of it’s reports. Cutting back on print and switching to digital is a rising trend in society. This lead me to question, are we really ready to get rid of print resources completely?

Call me old school if you want. Personally, whenever I am waiting for a Metra or passing time before an appointment of any sort, grabbing a magazine or print newspaper is what helps me pass the time. There is something about holding a magazine in your hand and being able to see it in a regular font size that makes me feel like I can never completely turn away from print. I know many that love their Kindle devices for reading books, but I still love to buy hard copies of books and read them.


There is one aspect where digital will reign over print any day: timeliness. Breaking news is sent to Twitter and RSS feeds instead of the local papers. The instantaneous word of mouth provided in the digital realm is one force that will win over print any day. Print can’t compete with technology in this aspect since timing is everything in the news. One point, digital.


With iPads all the new craze, newspaper subscribers are logging in to read the latest digest instead of going to the newsstand. But what about magazines? I still love my monthly subscriptions to Chicago magazine and Elle, and don’t plan on giving those up for the digital world anytime soon. Actually, that’s one of the only times a day when I am not in front of a computer screen. One point, print magazines.

Technology overload

Maybe it is the takeaway from the technology world for me. Trying to find a time a day where you aren’t in front of a computer screen is becoming a bigger trend then ever. And with Gen-Y’s out in the business workforce, technology is pointing at them in all directions. It’s nice every once in awhile to just take a break. That’s when print comes back into my world.

What do you think? Do you read magazines/newspapers online or in print? Are you ready to ditch print?

Why is Scott Stratten so funny?

Because he’s right. And he calls us out.

Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing, came to Rockit in Chicago last night for a stop on his book tour. Jackie and I were lucky enough to get a ticket in to hear what he had to say.

Stratten left us with some great marketing tips and a few good laughs…

“To be awesome at customer service, you just have to be average. Cause everyone else sucks.”

Sad but true, customer service is not the best these days. Being average in a world where most don’t take the time to think about their customers the way they should makes you stand out from the crowd. Why is that? Going back to finding what your customer really needs is a task marketers need to get back to. At the end of the day, they are the ones who make or break your brand.

“Twitter sucks for marketing. It’s awesome for building relationships.”

It’s safe to say I have met some of the best and the brightest people in the industry on Twitter. Why? Because they engage with others that have the same interests as them, answer each other’s questions, and communicate. It sounds simple, but so many people don’t realize the relationships you can build by just saying hello.

“Why people spread things hasn’t changed. The way they spread things has.”

Whether you believe in social media or not, at the end of the day it is a fast, efficient way to spread the things you are passionate about with others. But before social media existed, the same thing occurred.

People were still sharing information, just not at as fast a pace.

“If your niche is people they are there [on social media].”

For people that still don’t believe in social media (or as I like to call them, “haters”), they must be trying to reach out to things other than humans–aliens, animals, etc.–to promote their product or service. Face the music: the world is on social media. And they are all listening. If you are not on there yet you are at least a good two years behind. Get. On. That.

Overall, the event rocked. Shout out to Billy Dec of Rockit Ranch Productions for making that happen. Scott was so friendly and personable, and the crowd loved him. If you haven’t checked out UnMarketing yet, you’re missing out!

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