Twitterholics, Facebook Fiends and Social Media Mavens

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia

Ok I admit it, I’m a social media fiend. I love twitter, facebook, linkedin, and blogging, and all together these types of applications are known as Web 2.0.  There are so many great applications out right now that can make keeping in touch, or promoting your business so much easier. I’ve mentioned this guide to several of my friends and wanted to share it here for anyone looking for a great getting started guide for Twitter and business.

How to use Twitter for Business Guide by HubSpot

I’m working on several presentations for work and Web 2.0 and how to use social media for business is playing an integral part in each one. The age group with the biggest number of uses on facebook is 25-45.  Financial gurus who know are forcasting that Twitter’s stock is fixing to go through the roof and the number of uses to quadruple. 

So if you are looking to dive into this new era of marketing and advertising I highly recommend checking out the guide above, trainings on Hubspot, and other free trainings like Googles Marketing Professional designation. These are resources that take nothing but your time and will drastically broaden your horizons on communicating with a wider audience.

Enjoy and Happy Friday!

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Telecommuting Advocate

Over the last three years I have become a huge advocate for telecommuting as a flexible option for work. It saves money, it’s easier to keep up when children have illnesses, and I flat out get far more done!

I recently decided to share what I’ve learned about working from home by writing occasional articles for an online site here in Austin.

You can check them out here, and see a preview of my introductory article.

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What A Girl Wants

I spent last week driving around Central Texas with a co-worker delivering marketing materials to my accounts. As we drove we visited on various work projects, families, friends, but the most interesting discussion we had was on the lack of choice that society gives to mothers. It made me sit back and think about how I really feel about where I am right now as a mother, an employee and a person.

In a perfect world that didn’t having me owing far to much money in student loans we might be able to afford for me to stay home while we have young children. In reality though I work to make sure we can afford Alex’s school, groceries and the occasional splurge. Although we don’t live paycheck to paycheck we are a far cry from even considering being a single income household, and usually I’m okay with that.

Lately though I’ve been a bit frustrated with how Alex is reacting to changes at his school, the constant colds coming home and as my workload gets busier and busier, the need to spend family time occasionally doing work. I enjoy my job, my family, and my hobbies but my priorities fall with family first. I truly feel that being home with my kiddo would be to his benefit while he’s young, and luckily I’m blessed with a job that allows me to telecommute so the parade of colds and sick days don’t necessarily derail my work schedule.

But how do parents with less flexible employers manage this. My mother worked for a variety of companies when I was younger and at many of them she could only take off for extreme emergencies. She was a single parent doing the best she could and the deck was stacked against her. If we as a society want to tout that the children are our future we should be a bit more careful of who is rearing that future. Society sees motherhood as a part time affair and doesn’t always give credit where it’s due. Our children spend more time in daycare each day than they do at home, and even though I’m very grateful that my son has a safe and loving environment to be at each day, it makes me sad when I see all that he is learning that I’m not playing a part in teaching him.

Companies should explore alternatives for sick days that allow parents to be home with their children and depending on circumstances, to still manage some of their tasks. This is not to say if you have a puking child you should have to take phone calls, but there have been several days this year when my son was fine but waiting out a 24 hour fever free rule to return to school. On those days I can work and he can play outside thanks to my companies telecommuting policy. With phone forwarding, webinars, conference call lines, web cams and free online resources like google docs there are few reasons left to require a physical presence in the office at all times. Telecommuting, like staying home with your children is not for everyone, but for the most part I think it should be more of an option for those who want to pursue it.

Taking Your Work Home

Telecommuting is a growing benefit that many companies are using to hire great employees and keep those that would have once had to leave the office to move or stay home. This video is a great example of a company that is ahead of the game.

Even better, set me up with one of these babies! I love the idea but am not sure if my two year old wouldn’t view this as a part of his outdoor playset. Check out the latest in the 10 second commute. Office Pods

Telecommuting Tuesdays

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Boy is the world buzzing right now with a fascinating new way to save your company some money! The articles, posts and emails I’ve gotten lately touting telecommuting would make you think someone came up with this genius idea yesterday!

Business Week ran a nifty story that I enjoyed enough to forward to some co-workers (maybe I can subvert the entire office into working from home. Then I’ll be the resident expert! WOOHOO.) Shortly after that crossed my desk I got some very interesting statistics about telecommuting.

The guys over at Undress for Success reported
In response to high gas prices, almost one in four employers are planning to offer a telecommuting option for their employees within the next six months (8/08) and 42% already have. (Mercer’s 2008 Gas Price Impact SnapShot™ Survey)

I’m definitely seeing an increase in those telecommuting. My mother in law now works from home, my husband’s field offers a lot of home based telecommuting opportunities, and a few of my co-workers are quietly edging their way out the office door. Although some employers still have a fear of Facebook stalking, slacker employees, most will find that losing the commute allows those of us logging in from home to accomplish far more from the couch than we ever did in the cube. And thanks to instant messaging services like Skype I can stay in touch with colleagues without the commute.

While I’m rambling about Skype let me just say that my husband travels for work and boy do I LOVE Skype for the weeks when he is gone. Our toddler can get a chance to see him, and even though he’s hundreds of miles away, the video option (FREE, the whole darn service is FREE) means that he’s always here for evening prayers.

Whether you already telecommute or are just trying to figure out how to get a little more flexibility in your day embrace the free services that are everywhere on the web for those of us logging in from home. Some of my absolute faves are:

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Work work work

Telecommuting has given many employees a new l...Image via Wikipedia

Telecommuting is more work than many office dwellers think. Not only are you doing the same workload you did before you left the office to work at home, but you are also doing the additional job of marketing yourself to the very company that hired you and continually promoting your capabilities to remind them why you should remain on the payroll.

Over the last three years there have been many times when work that would once have fallen to me by default has been passed on to a co-worker. Largely I think this is due to the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon that tends to affect telecommuters. Interesting enough a fellow telecommuter posted this article yesterday, and if you work remotely it has some great advice.

You also have to continually deal with what I call the mini mishaps. The computer trouble, internet going out, nuts knocking on the front door, the gold fish spitting rocks at you through the tank…all fun stories I’m sure will surface soon!

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A Nutty Irishman Saves My Sanity

The rush of the holidays. Finishing up deliverables for the year. Two days until vacation.

These are all things that are occuring simulteanously during the last week of work before Christmas vacation! I work hard all year, and I work from home which means I work sick or not, so I am planning a bang up vacation for Christmas. I’ll be out the door (theoretically :)) on Friday at noon and I’ll be back sometime after the first of the year. So this week is nuts and today finds me at Kenny’s Coffee having a Nutty Irishman, my absolute favorite coffee drink for a pick me up, to get the day jumpstarted. I can’t tell you how many times I have been so happy to have a great mom and pop coffee shop with free wifi in my neighborhood. Anytime I need more noise than I have at home to get me to focus, they are ready and waiting with caffinne a plenty. Off to the grind now, but I can’t complain too much since Pandora. com is rocking on my computer, the Nutty Irishman is soothing my lack of sleep that I can thank my toddler for, and I’m looking forward to a coworker lunch today! All in all the best of the best that telecommuters can look forward to!

Crazy Days

Life as a telecommuter varies for me. Some days, when I don’t have a super pressing deadline, I have to force myself to focus and work steadily on tasks that are more monotonous than fun. Fortunately there haven’t been too many days like that lately.

What there has been are the typical snafus that accompany working from a home office (or a desk built into the kitchen like I do :)).

Yesterday there was a parade of repair men tromping through my house. The first one showed up right on time around 2, he was the cable guy, and being completely into what I was working on I showed him to my husband’s wall mounted new plasma TV and left him to fix the broken input. It wasn’t until 10 minutes later when a team of Best Buy repair men showed up that I realized the cable guy was there to fix my phones, not my husband’s TV. There was a bit of embarrassment on my end and chuckles from the various testosterone infused experts in the house when I went up to shuffle them around. After all that neither party could fix what they came for and both rescheduled service calls for next week. So the saga continues!

Today I woke up sick as a dog, took the day off work and dosed myself with DayQuil. After sleeping for a few hours I woke up feeling better. Having already taken the day off I decided to get some personal business done and am now feeling quite accomplished for getting my Craigslist listings up, packages mailed, books sent off for, a few groceries (mostly OJ and Superfood juice by Odwalla) and a tiny bit of housecleaning done.

Realizing what all I accomplished from a day free of general work (sick or not I got a few things done that have been cluttering up my desk for sometime), I am now determined to take 1 day a month off to play “catch-up” for the house!

The Drama, Dreams, and Disgusts that come with Telecommuting

I’ve been telecommuting for almost two years now and still there are funky hang-ups and distractions that make life interesting. Recently my “eyes’ in the office, the one co-worker who didn’t shun me when I left to work remotely, became a telecommuter herself. Being the literary minded person she is (and a child of the 80s, like me) she wanted to commermorate her Telecommuting journey and share it with anyone looking for a laugh!

Thus Adventures in Telecommuting was born.