What The American President Got Right About America — And Marriage Equality

One of my favorite movies is The American President, and the scene that always jumps to mind is President Andrew Shepherd’s (an inspired performance by Michael Douglas) speech on America. If you haven’t seen it or just want to relive it, here you go.

Why do I love this speech? It nails the best — and hardest — things about living in this country. As Shepherd says…

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight.”

Living in America brings freedom of speech, the ability to practice whatever religion you so desire, the right to peacefully assemble, to protest. It does not bring insulation from others’ opinions, ways of life or personal beliefs. The law is not your personal value system. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that you personally agree with it; it means that other people in this country have rights as well.

It's time for marriage equality.

As the Supreme Court debates marriage equality, a furor has erupted from both sides on the issue. However, it makes sense to take a step back while taking a deep breath. It doesn’t matter (in a legal sense) if you’re for or against marriage equality; it’s necessary or the 14th Amendment isn’t really law.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The law’s pretty clear. Our LGBU friends should legally be allowed to enjoy the benefits of marriage just like their heterosexual counterparts. To quote the aforementioned fictitious President Shepherd…

“You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”.

Yes, we all need personal value systems and beliefs to navigate our course in life. Legalizing marriage equality isn’t an attack on or a support of your personal beliefs; it’s simply extending benefits of citizenry to those currently without. If you’re straight, it won’t directly affect your life. But to our gay friends, it’s an overdue part of the process toward equality.

Obviously, this is a contentious issue, so I would love your thoughts. Is my logic correct? Or do you believe that the law is about morality and personal beliefs?

Video of speech courtesy of antoniocostaamaral via YouTube

Image courtesy of The Human Rights Campaign via Storify

Looking forward to the day we’re all equal,
Jaime

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Are Your Company’s Policies Helping You Do Business?

That may seem like an obvious question, but when’s the last time you reviewed your company’s policies? Are they still relevant today or stuck in the past? Do they encourage customers to do business with you or push them to your competitors?

Recently, I ran into a situation of what I consider to be outdated policies. As previously noted, I came to the difficult decision to cut cable and also got rid of my landline. The latter may seem obvious today, but I had kept it to this point for my business. I still have Internet through this company, along with a greatly reduced monthly bill.

I made sure to cancel my cable and landline two weeks before my next scheduled payment was due, so I wouldn’t have to deal with credits. As this company charges in advance for its services (which I find a little outdated itself), I expected only my Internet fee to be withdrawn for the next month.

The penguin's even confused.

What?!

Talk about a (bad) surprise! I noticed that my account had not been updated online a week later, so I called. Despite my protests, two different people informed me that it was company policy not to make changes during a billing period. Huh?! Their reasoning? They don’t send out updated bills. I receive paperless statements, as I would think most people do today, so I’m not sure what the company’s “sending out.” Also, in this age of real-time information, I was shocked at how slow this company processes changes.

I’m paying a company in advance for services I no longer have with them, so they can credit my account later.

Does this make any sense to anyone? I’m serious; I would love your feedback. Am I expecting too much?

My changes won’t be processed until my next billing cycle even though the company was able to cut off my services in 10 minutes. Is this acceptable?

You’re probably asking why I don’t move my business. There are limited choices in my market, and the only other company is actually worse to deal with. I know, because I used to deal with them.

Note that I’m not a complainer nor do I expect companies to cater to me. A little customer service would be nice though.

No marching bands or circus animals!

Do your company policies make sense?

So back to you and your company… do your policies make sense? Are there reasons behind them? Do they help you do business? If not, it may be time for a review.

Please chime in… what do you think of my situation? Is it acceptable or an example of an outdated policy at work?

Have a great week,
Jaime

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Facebook Graph Search: A Case Study

Yesterday Facebook removed me from the waiting list and added Graph Search to my profile. I attended the press conference launch (via live blogging) and have certainly heard the hype, so I was anxious to try this new tool.

Recently, I’ve become interested in oils in order to make more natural versions of beauty and cleaning supplies. I began typing in oils, and results began filling in below the search box. I love the auto complete feature as it lets you modify your search term in real time to receive better results.

Facebook Graph Search

Initial results included a blog, book, website and holistic beauty supply store in MN. The only initial search result that didn’t apply was Oils Moto Club, which was labeled Automobile and Parts so I knew it wasn’t worth clicking on (if the name didn’t give it away to begin with).

Upon pulling up the Herbs & Oils World Facebook page, I had multiple options to locate more information on it.

Facebook Graph Search

I discovered that I had one friend who liked the page and pulled up several non-friends who did as well. I noticed that some were in my area although I’m not sure what criteria are given the most weight here.

The point is that you can easily gather personal feedback on your search results, which differentiates Facebook Graph from web search engines.

Naturally, privacy concerns arise. Do you want the world to be able to find you in Graph Search? Or even be able to see that you like or engage with specific pages? Facebook has made great strides in simplifying its privacy settings, but some still find them cumbersome and/or confusing. If you’re not sure, check out Graph Search Privacy to better understand what people can find out about you with this new tool.

Feedback

I’m excited about the possibilities of Facebook Graph Search for everyday living as well as for my company. There appear to be some intriguing possibilities for landing new clients, locating new resources and connecting with like-minded individuals.

As always, privacy is a concern, so you need to review your settings. Take a few minutes to understand what others can see when they search for you on Graph Search (and online in general).

This shouldn’t stop you from jumping in and utilizing this new tool though. One of the biggest benefits of technology is connecting people and resources, and I see Facebook Graph Search moving this cause forward.

What about you? Have you used Graph Search yet? What are your thoughts and/or experiences?

Are you confused? Drop me a line and I’d be happy to help you out. Below I’ve listed some additional resources on the subject as well.

Happy searching!
Jaime

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The End Of The Line… Or Cable

I’m finally cutting the cord… to cable. It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve watched admirably as others have done it and claimed to have no regrets. It’s not that I don’t enjoy TV. I do. It’s just that I can’t continue to justify the ever-rising costs and rigid packages in order to attain my viewing pleasure. I’m a big believer in value (not strictly cost), and I don’t see the value in cable for what I pay.

First of all, I’m not a TV addict. There are weeks that go by where I hardly turn the TV on, sometimes only for background noise as I’m making dinner or reading. I’m a nature lover; I love to be outside. (Yes, there are benefits to growing up in Timbuktu.) I’m fortunate that I live minutes from a metro park that offers multiple trails and mesmerizing scenery for hiking and trail running.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

I ❤ nature.

While I’m not a TV addict, I am a reading addict. Fiction. Nonfiction. Horror. Mysteries. Biographies. Psychology books. If it’s been written, I probably want to read it. At any time, my constantly evolving reading list (aptly titled bookworm) numbers 100 books or more. I also love to write, and I’m hoping one of the benefits of cutting cable is that I get back to writing more for me. Currently, my writing is mostly only for clients.

Word puzzles, crafts, DIY, sports. I have a lot of passions, so I’m not worried about filling my time. I will miss being able to turn on the TV to catch SportsCenter or an episode of Property Brothers on HGTV. But that’s no longer enough for me to send my money into the black hole of cable.

ksu_espn

One thing I will miss — catching my Flashes on ESPN.

Here’s my question… What other viewing platforms/resources do you use? Netflix? Hulu? Websites? iTunes/Google Play? I would love to hear your feedback and any personal experience you or a friend have had. Even after cutting the cord, I’ll still need to catch Downton Abbey. 🙂

Your thoughts are appreciated! I’m sure it will be an adjustment at first, but I’m looking forward to life without cable.

Cheers,
Jaime

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It’s All About The Little Things

It's all about the little things.

“We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things.”
-Charles W. Chestnutt

Yesterday was my birthday (yep, I’m a Pisces). Upon the outpouring of well wishes from friends, family and business associates, I was reminded that life is so much about the little things.

A message on social media wishing someone a happy birthday. Making time for dinner with your family or lunch with an out of town friend. Calling someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile just to check in. Small acts that cost you little but brighten someone’s day.

Little things are just as important in business. My mantra has always been, “People do business with people.” I always try to put a face behind my company name, make my digital world seem more human and personal. Although much of what I do is electronic – writing, marketing strategy, social media, etc – I love connecting with people and putting a face with a name.

I believe that rich relationships are what life’s all about, in business too. Reach out and connect with people, care about what they do and how you can help them. The business will come, but first you have to connect with people, develop and nurture relationships.

Who knows what could come out of a simple birthday wish?

Your thoughts?

Cheers,
Jaime

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