Why do you want to be an egghead?

It’s the first thing that makes me second guess following you. Seriously, if you can’t even add a custom avatar – something, anything – I really question the value of your tweets. Of course, there’s debate on what works best as an avatar, but first, you need an avatar.

I realize that this is basic knowledge, one of the first things you learn when deciding to jump into social media. So why do so many people still want to be an egghead? 

Twitter default avatar

A little history… The current default avatar came about in September of 2010 when Twitter decided to make another update in this area. Previously, the micro-blogging platform used a strange, pseudo face with a brown background followed by a bird. I’m always amazed at the uproar that follows a default avatar update. Why not just customize your avatar?

previous default Twitter avatar     previous default Twitter avatar

I get it. I’m not photogenic and would much rather be behind the camera. However, your face (cartoon, logo or place of business) is as much a part of your brand — personal or business — as your tweets. Let people put a face with a name and establish more of a connection with you. Add a little warmth to the oftentimes cold digital world.

Jaime Shine/CCC Twitter Bio

Personally, I would recommend a head shot. It doesn’t have to be formal or professionally taken; just make sure it sends the vibe that you’re aiming for. I do change up my profile picture from time to time and have different profile pictures across my social platforms. I recognize that I have different audiences on other platforms and choose a profile picture accordingly.

If you absolutely refuse to use a head shot, then at least use your logo, place of business or an object that is meaningful to you. Remember, your profile picture is one of the best ways to make a first impression. Make it count! Don’t be an egghead.

You may be interested in: What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

Your turn…

What are your thoughts on social media avatars?

Do you use a default avatar on any social network? If so, why?

Does a default avatar affect your impressions of someone?

Chime in… let’s discuss!

Default avatar images courtesy of Digg with me blog

I may be crazy but I’m not an egghead–
Jaime

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The Opera: Chapter One

Clearly Conveyed Communications is extremely excited to host our first guest blog post, The Opera, by Sage Doyle. Following is the first chapter of an original work by Mr. Doyle that he will be seeking publication for this summer. Enjoy!

Who is Sage Doyle?

Sage Doyle GravatarSage Doyle is a mainstream novel writer pursuing
publication. On his blog, he features a mix of
poetry and short fiction, including the ongoing
story, The Journal of Wall Grimm (which
contains mature content.) Mr. Doyle has a B.A. in
English and an M.S. in Psychology/Counseling.
His approach to fiction writing is character-
based, psychological and literary. You can
connect with Sage on Twitter @sagedoyle or via email at sagedoyle@yahoo.com. Sage Doyle is a pen name.


The
Opera

by
Sage Doyle

“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others;  the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley


Chapter
One

October 2006

“She got an abortion.” Jack looked down, tilting his beer to see how much was left. He guzzled the last of it and got another one.

“She told you that?”

“No, someone else told me last night.”

“Who?”

“That’s beside the point.”

“Well, that’s…I’m sorry. Did you even know she was pregnant?”

Jack shook his head, returning to sit at the table. “She never talked to me. I would’ve taken responsibility. I could’ve raised the child myself…”

“Well, I don’t know, but maybe women have a hard time with that, afraid to feel guilty about not raising a child themselves, I don’t know.” Corey sat at the median to the kitchen, a counter area with high stool chairs. He spun a bit in his seat, waiting for an indication of which direction Jack was leading the conversation, or a hint of its cessation.

Jack watched the room darken, as grey shadows spread in from outside across the white walls of the New York hotel room. The windows were open and the wind brandished the drapes, carrying the scent of city and the anticipation of heavy rainfall. Neither of them lived in New York, rather the two actors were in town for the premier of Corey’s film White Window, which occurred the previous night, and they sat in the hotel suite before going to a private party that afternoon. They planned to attend the party sans an entourage of publicists, reps, agents, and the occasional bodyguard. Jack and Corey preferred to pretend they were real people as much as safety would allow. Some celebrities needed their entourage like a security blanket, whereas Jack and Corey avoided that scene whenever possible.

“So…” Corey broke the silence, “who else knows about it, I mean, will it get out to the press?”

“Hope not, but she’s very private so I’m sure she’ll do her best to keep this quiet. It’s also against her culture. So…I got that going for me anyway.” He brushed water off his thigh that dripped down from the moisture of his bottle, and mumbled, “but everything seems to come out at some point.”

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

We hope you enjoyed Sage Doyle’s original work! Please visit his blog to enjoy more of Mr. Doyle’s writing and leave a comment with your thoughts below.

Also, we would love to host more guest bloggers! If you’re interested, please review our invite.

Cheers! 

Thank You, Soldier

Thank a soldier today.

Thank a soldier this Memorial Day (and every day).
Freedom isn’t free.

As we head off to enjoy a long Memorial Day weekend, remember what we’re observing on Monday. Memorial Day isn’t just the official start to summer, or a day to barbecue, swim and enjoy with family and friends.

It’s a chance to remember, honor and pay respects to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. From a beach in Normandy to the deserts of Iraq and everywhere in between. While patrolling in Korea to responding to a natural disaster in New Orleans. Here one day, gone the next.

Fathers…
Mothers…
Brothers…
Sisters…
Sons…
Daughters…
Best friends…
Fraternity brothers…
Sorority sisters…
Cousins…
Aunts…
Uncles…
Teammates…
Co-workers…
Human beings.

They all left behind families, friends and loved ones who miss them dearly. Be thankful for those in your life, and the freedoms we exercise every day – often without giving them a thought.

9/11: A Day We'll Never Forget

Freedom of speech, religion, to assemble and protest peacefully. The right to wear what we want, say what we want and watch a football game or NASCAR race on a Sunday afternoon.

So enjoy this long weekend with your family and friends. Barbecue, swim, laugh and smile. But please — thank a soldier. Remember someone who gave it all so we could have it all. Attend a ceremony; salute the flag. Have a moment of silence.

It’s not a political statement. It doesn’t matter if you’re red or blue (or somewhere in between). For one day, Republicans and Democrats become Americans. It’s just the right thing to do.

p.s. I’d be honored if you would leave the name (armed forces division, rank and any other info you’d like) of someone you’re remembering or honoring this weekend. Let’s remember together.

Remembering the fallen,
Jaime

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How MacGyver Can Inspire Your Marketing Efforts

I wanted to be MacGyver when I grew up. [Who’s MacGyver?] Not Cinderella or Barbie or Sassette Smurfling (although living in the Smurf Village wouldn’t have been so bad.)

macgyver in action

MacGyver was always thinking, which inspired me to do the same.

Why? MacGyver was a thinker. He didn’t just shoot someone (didn’t even carry a gun in fact) or take the easy way out of a situation. He used logic. He stepped back, looked at a problem from all angles (even under extreme circumstances) and figured out a solution. That impressed me even at a young age.

MacGyver wasn’t flashy; he just went about his business of fixing things and saving people while living his life. The fact that he happened to get into shaky circumstances so often didn’t seem to phase him at all. I related to him as a thinker, an introvert, a problem solver.

Not everyone did though. For show and tell in second grade one week, we were supposed to talk about our favorite superhero. I was excited to talk about MacGyver: how cool he was, and how I wanted to be like him when I grew up. You know, a non-violent secret agent who has a scientific background and uses everyday items to solve major issues. Practical, right?

Anyway, I announced that my favorite hero was MacGyver, which my teacher promptly rebutted with, “MacGyver isn’t a superhero.” My response, “Why? Because he doesn’t wear tights?” My sarcasm was evident even as a seven-year-old.

MacGyver didn’t need tights or special powers, just a Swiss Army knife, encyclopedic knowledge and common sense.

Marketing professionals can learn a lot from this fictional character and utilize MacGyver’s ‘tools’ to succeed.

  • Knowledge is power. The more you know about your industry, organization, objectives and marketing will put you in a position to succeed.
  • Always be prepared. MacGyver carried his Swiss Army knife wherever he went just in case. What’s your Swiss Army knife? A master binder covering every detail of your event? Your company’s marketing plan? Your smartphone? Whatever it is, know where it is at all times.
  • Be flexible. Yes, you need to plan. But the best laid plans can change on a dime, and you need to adapt to your surroundings.
  • Solve problems. Sometimes we get so caught up in marketing, that we forget our primary goal is to solve a problem — our company’s, a client’s, a non-profit organization’s that we’re volunteering for. [I’d be remiss not to mention Jeff Bullas’ excellent post on this subject: Why Solving Problems Beats Marketing.]
  • Think. You have a brain; use it. Don’t overreact to every situation and try to ‘do’ your way out of it. No matter how crazy it seems, you have time to step back, look at a problem from all angles and come up with a solution. Use logic to fight (metaphorical) fires, and more often than not, you’ll put them out much quicker.
macgyver scaling a mountain

He may not wear tights, but he does scale mountains! Looks like a superhero to me.

See, MacGyver really is a superhero. As a marketing professional, you can use the same tools he did to succeed and be a hero to your clients, boss, business associates and colleagues.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s the go to ‘tool’ in your arsenal?

Do you agree with the tools I mentioned? What am I missing?

Did another character inspire you when you were growing up?

Chime in! I’d love to hear your thoughts on MacGyver, inspirational characters, the aforementioned ‘tools’ to succeed, marketing or whatever’s on your mind today.

Photos courtesy of the Richard Dean Anderson Website (Yep, that’s MacGyver.)
Video courtesy of the CBS Television YouTube Channel

Your marketing secret agent,
Jaime

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What makes you smile?

I’m sitting here polishing my toenails while making updates to my website and a squirrel just ran across my windowsill, stopping to peer in. (Don’t feed the humans!) I realized that I was smiling despite the damage that the little critters can cause.

What makes you smile?

Sometimes a midst the frustration and minor annoyances of day to day life, it helps to take a step back and remember what makes you smile. Then seek out those things, however small, so you smile more and more. It’s amazing what it does for your mood!

Here are some things that make me smile!

my Starbucks #sipface

Showing off my Starbucks #sipface while enjoying some espresso on a beautiful day.

after a day of trail running

I ❤ trail running (and a little mud)!

hitting my goal in the Akron half-marathon

In my 3rd half-marathon, I hit my goal (with the help of my blue toenail polish)!

relaxing on the beach

Soaking in the rays on Hilton Head Island…

I'm contemplating life

Just another day in the life…

Now it’s your turn –> what makes you smile?

Drop your list in the comments below or share your blog post link. I’m looking forward to your responses. Enjoy the weekend, and remember to smile!

Cheers,
Jaime

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Attention bloggers! We want you.

Yes, you. You’re reading this post and love to blog or have been secretly wanting to start blogging, but you’re not sure where to start. We would love to feature your thoughts.

The Clearly Conveyed Communications (CCC) blog turned a year old last month, and we’re ready to open our doors to outside content. What a year it’s been! Full of enhancements, tweaks, middle-of-the-night ideas, a complete website redesign and now, an invite to others to further join (and lead) the conversation.

An Introduction: Our first post!

If you’re a fan of the blog (thank you!!), you know that we cover a wide range of topics falling within the marketing (including social media), writing, event planning and personal reflection categories. The wide range of subjects mirrors the services that CCC provides and is drawing increased interest.

Have an idea? Not sure but want to participate?

Here’s what we need from you:

  • 300-500 words (an average; we’re flexible)
  • Accompanying picture(s)/video(s) — we can provide if you don’t have
  • Brief bio, head shot & link to website, LinkedIn profile, etc.

Each blogger will be prominently featured on his or her post(s) and included in the contributor panel on the sidebar. Your posts will also be tagged with your name. Yes, you are invited to submit multiple posts, perhaps a series, or as ideas strike you.

If you’re interested, just drop us a comment below. As noted, we’d love to hear your ideas or let us know if you’d love to contribute but aren’t sure what to write about. Feel free to share this post with other interested parties!

>>> Comment away! <<<

Looking forward to hearing your ideas!
Jaime

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Love, Google

Brands have been creating content, offering special promotions and attaching themselves to seemingly non-related holidays for years. But for Mother’s Day 2013, Google nailed it.

Here’s to the Moms

The worldwide search giant did what it does best — connected you to the information you need. A special landing page offers:

  • a video celebrating moms created from user videos showing touching mom moments from their own lives (YouTube)
  • last minute gift ideas (Google Shopping) & deals (Google Offers)
  • a way to hang out with Mom on Mother’s Day no matter where you are (Google+ Hangouts)
  • a quick way to send flowers (Google Maps)

In one swoop, Google managed to create goodwill with its customers, positive PR for itself and help its users celebrate Mother’s Day with ease. You go, Google, and thanks for putting the world — and our loved ones — at our fingertips.

Weigh in!

What do you think of Google’s landing page? Have you used it?

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day this year?

What other successful examples of brands associating themselves with holidays have you seen?

Here’s to the Moms,
Jaime

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In 10 Years, I Have…

In honor of LinkedIn’s 10 year anniversary, Slideshare is asking you to look back at the past decade of your life. Where have you gone? What have you done? How far have you come?

Well, here’s mine… enjoy!

Let me know what you think! What has happened in your life over the past 10 years? Where do you hope to be in the next 10 years? Drop a comment below or reach out on a social network. If it sounds like fun, tell your story (or check out other journeys) at slideshare.net/in10years.

A toast to the next 10 years…
Jaime

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What’s your riddle?

You know, the one that’s still stumping you, no matter how hard you try to solve it. That puzzle you keep turning over in your mind like a Rubik’s Cube, knowing there’s a solution out there somewhere. What’s your riddle?

                                          The Waste Lands, Dark Tower III   Wizard and Glass, Dark Tower IV

Recently, I’ve been catching up on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, some of the few King masterpieces that I haven’t read (or devoured). (Yes, you could say I’m a fan.) Today, I finished The Waste Lands (III) and began Wizard and Glass (IV), and the scene that had me hooked was all about riddles. The main characters – Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake – must stump their antagonist, Blaine, with a riddle he can’t solve. Of course, Blaine is a demented spirit/ghost powering a train who’s losing his mind and has a nearly endless knowledge of riddles.

The Ka-tet: Roland of Gilead, Eddie, Susannah and Jake (with Oy)

The Ka-tet: Roland of Gilead, Eddie, Susannah and Jake (with Oy)

In typical King style, I was turning pages faster and faster to see if the ka-tet (along with their furry companion, Oy) lived or died. It also made me think more about riddles, a concept that our ‘world has moved on’ from, it seems. However, riddles actually apply today as well as ever.

We all have that riddle that we’re trying to solve, big or small.

Some of us battle addictions while others have a fear of failure. Some can’t put down the bottle while others have built a wall and won’t let anyone in. We all have something. What’s your thing?

 Mine is perfectionism. I’ve always felt this driving need from deep inside me to be perfect and excel at everything, which is impossible. I do understand that, and I’ve come a long way from my youth, but perfectionism’s an ugly force that still rears its head to me today. I know that I’ll always deal with it on some level, just below the surface, no matter how much progress I make. That’s my riddle that I can’t quite solve even after years of looking at it from every angle, considering different solutions. (As you can imagine, that doesn’t sit well with the perfectionist monster inside of me. Talk about irony…)

Perfectionism still stares me right in the eye.

Perfectionism still stares me right in the eye.

So there’s my riddle. What are you trying to solve? About your life, yourself, your situation? Whatever it is, know that all riddles can be solved eventually. They may take years or much sweat and stress, but they can be solved.

OK, don’t leave me stranded. Leave a comment about your riddle, so we can all bring our daily battles to light. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your riddle, then just let me know that I’m not alone in my fight.

So, what’s your riddle?

Stephen King book covers courtesy of The Dark Tower Official Website
Amazing drawing of the Ka-tet by John M. Prinkey courtesy of Elfwood

Enjoy the sunshine!
Jaime

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