Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Detroit Creatives Unite to Share Social Media Tips/Trends

This afternoon, I attended a social media event titled "Cultivating Detroit's Creative Culture Through Social Media" hosted at Cranbrook. Eric Cedo, CEO of Troy-based BrainGain Marketing (company that publishes MiLife MiTimes) and Brian Boyle, the man behind Issue Media Group (company that publishes Web-only magazines like Model D and metromode) were the driving forces of the free event that brought together social media experts and those itching to learn how to utilize social media in their careers.

I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on the concept of social media, but I was eager to hear what those who live and breathe social media had to share. I gained a TON of great knowledge and could probably rant on for a few pages, but I'll break it down by speaker and bullet out what I found to be most interesting.

Brian Boyle - Issue Media Group
  • Media is now more fragmented and it's harder to make an impact
  • Compelling content is key
  • Job of Issue Media Group pubs is to share remarkable, untold stories about growth/development/creative talent in various regions across Michigan (great pitching opps for PR pros with cool clients!)
  • Video is emerging content and it needs to be incorporated in marketing plans
  • Make a significant investment in getting content/stories out to people en masse
  • Read "The Long Tail" by Wired Magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson
Nettie Boivin - BrainGain Marketing (need to add that I LOVE this lady!)
  • Social media also relies on the PR fundamental of building relationships
  • Content is king
  • Bloggers will recognize if you're fake, so ALWAYS be authentic
  • Use social media news releases to push your content into the blogosphere through sites likes del.icio.us., Digg and reddit
  • Use Netvibes to organize RSS feeds
  • Research and comment on blogs before pitching them
  • Pitch bloggers through Facebook or Twitter
  • Ask bloggers how they like to be pitched
  • Check out Mashable.com for 350+ social networking sites
Lori Laurent Smith - Organic
  • Widgets are portable applications, focused and serve one main purpose (think Superpoke on Facebook!)
  • 69 million adults and 15 million teens will use a social network site in 2008
  • Desktop widgets give at-a-glance info
  • Widgets allow users to customize Web experience
  • Can use widgets to leverage upcoming event "hype"
  • One time minimal investment, lasts forever
PHEW! My head is spinning just from writing all that! Becoming a savvy social media guru can definitely be a full-time job, but it's a must-learn tool for anyone involved in the communications industry. I absolutely love it, and I love that D-town has young, creative talent like Eric, Brian, Nettie and Lori who care enough to spread the social media love!

And on a sidenote (maybe I'll write a separate post about this once my post-vacation craziness calms down a bit) -- I was away from the D for six days in Arizona. I had an amazing time, but I truly realized how much I've come to love Detroit and Michigan once I was away for awhile. It's like no other place, and regardless of what people who only read the news say/think, it's a budding garden of creative, young talent looking to make a mark on the world!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Metromix Invites You and Your Sweetie on a Dating Adventure

Metro Detroiters now have a new Web site to scope out for all the uber-cool places in our area to dine, have drinks, hear music, etc. As described on this site, Metromix Detroit is your one-stop local entertainment guide on where to go and what to do in Detroit, from the hottest restaurants and bars, to the latest in events, music, movies, style and TV.

If you and your significant other are adventurous and are looking for a good excuse to have a fun night out, then Metromix's Date Night Adventure is for you.

Here's what you have to do to take part in this mini excursion in your city of choice:
  • Grab a digital camera
  • Hit at least three places -- one must be a restaurant and other choices should be unique and adventurous (not just going to get ice cream).
  • Put your writing cap on and put some words to your adventure. No need to be a pro -- just write a fun caption for each photo you take.

Have I interested you yet? If so, send an e-mail to bjhammerstein@metromix.com and give him a rundown of what your ideas are for the night out. BJ seems like a real down-to-earth guy, and because this is a new initiative, he's looking for any and all suggestions. Of course I already sent in my fav joints in D-town, Royal Oak and Ferndale! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rockin' it Out Country Style at Coyote Joe's

So if it wasn't obvious enough from my post about the Downtown Hoedown, I am quite the fan of country music. I've heard about the country bar Coyote Joe's quite a few times, but never actually took the initiative to make the hike to 22 mile and Ryan -- until Friday night.

I must say that I was quite impressed. I would only (and I stress only!) recommend going there to someone who is a country fan. It's about as hick as it gets, and I loved every second of it! Perks about the place include $1 draft pints on Fridays from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. and Ladies Night on Thursdays (which includes free line dancing and $1 drinks). Not to mention, it's a fabulous place for people watching! A majority of the people there know different line dances, so it's really fun to kick back and watch...and if you're like me, it will motivate you to want to come out on Thursdays for the free line dancing lessons!

I was pretty much in heaven (please note that the Tigers actually WINNING this night contributed to the glory!) -- then the band came on and made the night 10 times better. They're a relatively new group with a super unique name -- Lady Antebellum. They rocked it out like they've been performing at concerts for years and years. Think Sugarland + Little Big Town. The group's debut album actually comes out this week. The single from the album is "Love Don't Live Here Anymore," and I heart it! The trio will be at the Hoedown on Friday, May 9.

To top off the night, as we (me, Sarah and Lyndsey) were walking out of the bar to go home, we just so happened to walk right by the band standing in front of their tour bus taking photos with fans. Lyndsey had already proclaimed her love for the lead singer (Charles Kelley, Josh Kelley's brother and Josh is married to Katherine Heigl) -- who by the way could pretty much be Ryan Gosling's twin. So I marched us right up to them to get a picture. All three of them were beyond nice, and as you can see from the photo above, we are now Lady Antebellum groupies!

All in all, the night was a blast...and I will definitely be back with the girls to learn the line dances and soak up all the glory of being a country music fan!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Amazing Oral Cancer Survivor Touches Lives, Raises Awareness

**Photo courtesy of Katie Rausch, The Flint Journal

There's a favorite quote of mine that says people pass in and out of your life for a reason, and however long or short they stay, they were meant to make an impact. An amazing and spunky 73-year-old woman from Grand Blanc is someone who's been in my life for a short period of time, but has quickly nudged her way into my heart.

Rather than me going into detail on Beverly Dillon's story, I'd prefer you read it from this
Flint Journal article. I've worked with Bev for about a year now to raise awareness of oral cancer on behalf of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Bev willingly offers her time to help spread the word about oral cancer because she's all too familiar with the disease. Reading her story will undoubtedly touch you, but there's nothing like hearing it firsthand from her.

Bev has a bit of a lisp. It's barely detectable, but it's a constant reminder of the pain and suffering she endured. Yet you won't find her being silent. Bev tells her story to anyone who will listen -- and once she starts talking, she immediately draws you in. Her story is so compelling and heartfelt, that you literally feel the pain that enveloped her during the more than 30 doctor and dentist trips it took before the light finally turned on in someone's head and her oral cancer was discovered.

That's the sad part about oral cancer -- it's often discovered in its later stages. Now more than ever, women and younger people are being affected by oral cancer. Oral cancer previously affected men over the age of 40, African Americans, smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers. To put the icing on the cake, now oral cancer is found to be associated with HPV. And still, many people don't know about it. Read this for more information about oral cancer, as well as information about a test that can detect oral cancer while it's still in its early stages.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 34,000 people will be affected by the disease this year, and approximately 8,000 will die. Today marks the beginning of National Oral Cancer Awareness Week (April 7-13), so now is a perfect time to become a little more familiar with the disease.

I hope I have the opportunity to work with Bev for many years to come. Every time I hear her tell her story, I learn something new. But the one thing she ALWAYS stresses is that in some ways, oral cancer was a blessing because it made her value life more than she ever had. Bev is always on-the-go, whether it's painting at art class, spending time with her grandchildren or meeting friends for breakfast. She's constantly interacting with people and enjoying life -- all the while finding new hearts to touch and new eyes to open. Bev is determined to raise awareness about oral cancer, and if more people like her start working to spread the awareness, then oral cancer will one day become as recognized and understood as breast cancer.

Next stop on the Beverly Dillon train -- Oprah (we hope!)

If I had my pick of one piece of advice that you can take from this post and from Beverly's story, then it would be this: Request an oral cancer exam from your dentist during every dental checkup.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Big Cat Shows Big Love

I am so amazed by this video that I had to stop everything that I'm doing and write a quick post on it.

Here's the story: The woman in the video found a sick, malnourished lion cub in the jungle. She took him home, fed him and raised him until he was too big to keep in the house. She then made arrangements with a zoo in Colombia to take the lion. The video shows the lion's reaction when his caretaker went to visit him at the zoo for the first time.

This video is sure to make you say "holy crap!" first, followed by a long "awwwwww." OK, well at least that's what me and my sidekick L. Pan did when we first watched it. But seriously -- what an amazing example of love and appreciation! Now if only humans were that appreciative all the time...

** Thanks to MAL for sending along. You know the way to my heart! **