How To Say Thank You – Smile And Wave

Congratulations! You’ve just received a compliment. Now what do you say?

Often we say nothing and just mumble and try to get away.

Strange that we become so flustered and confused as what to do when someone says something positive and wonderful about us or our work.  We get oddly apologetic and explain our success as some kind of horrible mistake.

You know the thing, we dismiss ourselves and become all self depreciating. 

“Oh, that?  It was nothing”

“What this old thing?”

“Well, it’s not quite what I was after, but it will do.”

Why is it so hard to take compliments on board?

I’m sure there are psychological treatises galore on the subject of our general inhibitions, but I’m not going to go there.  I’m not sure what your formative years were like or what array of skeletons you have in your closet, but we’re here now. So how do you accept a compliment sincerely and with grace?

Thumbs up!  You did well!
Vancouver, British Columbia –  2011

1.   Just say “Thank you”.  Simple huh?  Straightforward always works and brevity is good.  Do not, under any circumstances, respond with negative comments.  The other person is giving you something brilliant.  Don’t throw it back in their face.  Be gracious.

2.   If your success is genuinely not a solo effort, give credit to the people who helped you.  Be magnanimous.  Also often it’s easier to talk about others than yourself.  The bonus is that  sharing success makes you generous, well thought of and more likely to receive future compliments.

3.   Engage with those giving you the compliment.  Shuffling off or mumbling will not endear you to anyone.

4.  Give a compliment back if it’s appropriate.  Be sincere, not artificial or creepy.  This is not a competition as to who can compliment each other most.  Getting a compliment is not necessarily an invitation to indulge in a mutual admiration society.

5.  Smile!  Compliments are a good thing.  Enjoy them.  This also shows the giver that you genuinely appreciate their sentiment.

6.  Online you can use the same techniques to accept compliments.  Respond promptly and with gratitude to positive comments, enthusiastic tweets, and encouraging reviews.

7.  Pass it on.  Even if you’re not comfortable receiving compliments (yet) they do make you feel great. Pass on the good vibes to others who you feel really deserve it. 

Share the good feelings
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
It’s not indulgent to enjoy or feel worthy in yourself or your work. Why not bask in your success?  You have undoubtedly worked hard for it and have earned it.

Always remember:

You are not a Horrible Warning,  You are a Good Example!!!!!

Later (oh and well done!)


My Insights on Social Media – after…..?! Years of Being Online

I said in a much (much) earlier entry, I didn’t expect to be giving out advice on a regular basis because: 1. there is a lot of that on the Internet already, 2. why would I expect you to listen to me, (if you know me you would!) and 3. it’s my objective and that of my small business to offer my clients practical help – the roll up one’s sleeves and get-on-with-it kind of help.  So I’m a doer not a teller.  But well, things change 🙂

After the rambling preamble, what you can expect from this blog, is a series of loose observations and some personal opinions with some nice photographs here and there.

Vancouver, British Columbia – 2005

Today I will be sharing a few insights that I have gained over the last few year as I have plunged into the world of “Social Media” primarily for business (business? That is so funny on reflection! It’s pretty personal now as well.):

1.   Social Media isn’t free.  Twitter, blogging, Flickr etc may be free applications but they have to be maintained and of course the old adage is true – Time = Money

2.   Social Media is a public forum.  Don’t say anything you’ll regret and keep this in mind triply if your using it for business.  I know many of you have been indulging in major sporting events and the festivals (it’s not just me), but I don’t want to know how much you drank to celebrate/commiserate and I really don’t want to know what intimate bits of you got sunburn!  Yes, maybe I’m old fashioned but these colourful insights will have an adverse effect on my opinion of you.  You maybe my colleague, my potential colleague but you are not my friend (yet).

3.   There is no excuse not to be polite.  Please and thanks yous don’t cost anything and you’ll cultivate a reputation for generosity, fair mindedness and integrity. When texting and Twittering, brevity is essential but being terse and rude isn’t acceptable. And yes, spelling counts!

Granada, Spain – 2008
4.   Don’t ask for favours from people (requests for links, referrals, reviews, etc) and then tell the person what to say.  Note the word favour! Keep in mind when you ask, that you might not actually know them all that well.  Social Media can engender feelings of rapport that may not be reciprocated.

5.  Remember you have real friends and real family members.  Texting, tweeting, making or taking phone calls, whatever is NOT acceptable when you are supposed to be spending quality time with live, present people who care about you.  Always use technology to support and enhance your life and business not as a social substitute.

An aside here, I have never understood in films/TV even real life, why people ALWAYS feel they have to answer the phone.  I have an answering machine that provides a very adequate messaging service.  Sometimes I’m busy and can’t deal with a call at that exact moment.  It may be that I’m not even necessarily busy.  I might be reading a book, in the shower, just back from a run and wanting a shower, anything.  When the phone goes and I don’t answer it, it’s simply because I’m not ready to have a chat.  I promise to get back to you asap.

Oh dear, my phone dilemma.  This is probably just me and my eccentricities 😦  Still I maintain that I’m in charge of my phone, not visa versa!

And finally,

6.  Always, always remember the key to using Social Media successfully, is to be yourself.  People do business with people they like.

Hope you found this helpful, I do try my best.

Right, now I’m off for a run now.  Don’t call I won’t answer.  After running, I really really do want that shower!



Paris, France – 2007

8 Clichés That Are True On The Internet And In Business

We all know “times there are a changin” as the virtual world becomes an integral part of your business’s marketing strategy (not to mention your life).

But it’s really not that different from the pre-Internet days, apart from a remarkable change in format. Sometimes old fashioned, hackneyed, over used maxims are still completely appropriate.

Busy as a bee
East Sussex, UK – Aug 20009 

1.  “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” 
Still the first step you have to take when setting up your business.  This will never change, the plunge into the great unknown.

2.  “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”
Manners matter and professional etiquette is still the only acceptable type of behaviour in the online business world.  You still have to show up on time, play nice and “please” and “thanks yous” never go amiss. Establishing a reputation as a credible business person who is fair and dependable, is probably even more important than ever, as the Internet enables people to reach farther and provides them with a much longer memory.

3. “Burn the candle at both ends.”
Get the rest and sleep you need.  Just because the world has shrunk and everything is running 24/7, doesn’t mean you can or should even try to keep up. You won’t function properly without sleep and your colleagues and clients will be grateful if you stopped storming about and screwing up.  Honestly it’s for you own good. Functioning and awake we can put up with you.  Unreasonable, obstinate and irrational, well, hide the fire arms.

4. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”
Backup backup backup – I know a lot (OK more than 10) people who have lost data because they didn’t backup.  Family photos — gone.   Essay you’ve been researching for weeks (OK hours) — gone. Reports, invoices, documents blah blah blah — gone.  Hard-drives don’t cost much, aren’t complicated to use and if you haven’t got room for one then use the Cloud. (I could wax lyrically here about Dropbox but will resist)

5.  “A Jack of all trades and a master of none.”
No one can do everything.  It’s your primary responsibility to focus on the success of the product or service that your business provides and to get the help you need to ensure success in the areas where you have little or no talent.  Marketing, social media, human resources, accounting whatever. There is no need to do it all and your business could suffer because of your reluctance to delegate.

6.“Take it with a grain of salt.”
If one person says you’re doing it wrong – ignore them.  If ten people tell you in a week – do something about it!

7.“Go the extra mile.”
I was initially reluctant to do this as I thought 1. who’d listen and 2. if I give my advice for free who’d hire me!?  Upon reflection (and with further experience), now I’m in complete agreement.  Give advice for free. Even better –  give good quality, well thought out, honest advice for free. You’ll develop an excellent reputation as a reliable source and people will want you to provide them with a service because you have shown yourself to have the required knowledge base, the skills and the savvy. They’ll want you because, frankly you’re good at it and they have better things to do.

8. “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” 
Disconnect from the Internet for a day, and go out an play – Digital free days/holidays/weekends away/etc aren’t skiving. They’re an opportunity to get away and reflect on your accomplishments, assess your future and they give you the impetus to come back to the office with renewed vigour.

The Internet has brought with it different ways of doing business but always remember:

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Happily ever after
Goa, India – 2009

Please Stop Doing That #2 – What’s Driving Me Crazy About Your Twitter Stream

The use and abuse of the Twitter stream and what can be done about it. A few thoughts on doing better as it’s getting noisy out there and you’ll have more success if you shine than if you …… don’t.       

* Note:  As before I’m claiming some authority on this subject due to painstakingly acquired experience and years of geeky knowledge.  I’m trying to use my powers for good and point out a few possible foibles you may suffer from and to direct some people to the “naughty step” if I have to!

A (loose) dozen things to stop doing:

1.   Your stream is all about you!!!!!!!  Me, me, me and blah, blah, blah.  The absolutely key to an effective Social Media strategy is understanding it’s a communication tool and that communication needs to go both ways.

 2.  When you have NOTHING to say – you say it anyway.  Relentlessly.  Musing is fine, but endlessly pondering your navel is not OK.  Maybe you need to get out more?

3.   You don’t interact.  You never RT, you don’t re-share anyone else’s great stuff and if someone does share something you said you never say thank you.  Rude!  And you’re surprised no one wants to talk to you!!!!

Alone and wondering why?
Shropshire 2012

4.  You share nothing original and only RT.  Um…. your point?

5.  You know where I can get a free iPad.  Really!!!?  Aren’t we done with this one yet?

6. You’re still just talking about you.

7.  You promise me that if I follow you, you will teach me the secrets to finding 1,000,000 new followers.  Liar!  Almost as old and as bad as telling me I have a long lost uncle in the jungle and if I send you £250,00 to your Cayman Island bank account……

8. I don’t understand you.  Obviously you are 2G2BT but I 404 what you are saying so ,!!!!  

(the translation – Obviously you are to good to be true, but I don’t understand what you are saying, so talk to the hand)

9.  You tweet too much!  My Twitter stream is full of you.  Seriously, you do need to get out more.

10.  Um, it’s still just about you.  Yes, I’ve mentioned this before, TWICE!  It’s THAT irritating.

Be good and you can have cake!
Oxfordshire – 2011

11. You automate your tweets (I’m fine with that) but they all come at me one right after the other.  There’s no opportunity to see what could be of interest because it’s overwhelming and I’m off.

12  You’re always asking for stuff.  Please RT this, pass on that, my cat is swimming the channel for charity please sponsor him (10th time this year), donate to that, Does anyone have one of these (for free) ….. and so on.

OK done the rant now.  If anyone has any Twitter grievances I haven’t mentioned, please let me know.  We can commiserate together

Continuing my mission to make the Internet a more inviting place for humans.



Reading, 2012

The Biggest Noise Makers On Twitter – If It’s So Easy, Why Are So Many People Still Not “Getting It”?

Twitter –  It’s like that infamous Marmite commercial,  love it or hate it.

I mostly tend toward serious like, but there are a few things not so lovable about some Twitter users.

Yes, it’s an easy forum to use, but ease of use has very little with with being good at it. Many people are still not taking the time to use Twitter well and splatter the Twittersphere with irrelevant garbage. 

And it’s not only Justin Bieber fans

Some users feel that all they have to do is show up. And these people quickly become the most objectionable, adding little to the Twittersphere other than noise (I could rant on for days about what is their point but will desist).

What these currently ignorant (I’m hoping they can learn) Tweeps lack is engagement. Engagement is at the heart of successful and strategic  social networking.  No longer is it enough to talk at people, and throw marketing/products/services/information at them. Now you have to enter into dialogue with your customers, enabling them to choose,have options and take part. Scary stuff for old style marketers and advertisers.

Unsurprisingly, this is what I really like about social networking. Once again what a customer really wants counts and good customers demand a certain amount of decorum on the Web.  Hurrah for the comeback of Customer Service!

Social networking is about building relationships. Yes, this is hard work. It takes time and dedication and overnight success stories are like finding unicorn’s teeth. It’s a long game and because a lot of platforms are free doesn’t mean it’s going to be effortless and it also doesn’t mean that if you do it wrong it doesn’t matter.

One of Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell
For Tweeps who can’t behave
Gastown, Vancouver, Canada – 2011

My open letter to those who aren’t getting it (because you can learn!):

Dear Irritating Tweeps:

On behalf of Twitter users everywhere I encourage you to :

 A) Please go away or B) Stop doing any or all of the following!

1.  Never, ever, ever, ever engage with any of your followers or any other people onTwitter

2.  Talk about yourself incessantly to the exclusion of anyone and everything else.  No one is going to find you as interesting as you do, so just leave us out of it.

3.  Only talk in hashtags and RTs.  You are trying so hard to focus on trending topics but what do you really have to say?  Do you have anything interesting to add or are you just a mindless repetition?

4.  Leave your automated hunter gatherer apps on to find new Twitter followers even when you stopped tweeting last summer.  You’re aggravating.

5.  Bombard Twitter indiscriminately with spam.   No I don’t want your iPad, your weight loss secrets, your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin’s dog’s whatever and I especially don’t want your how to get more followers advice!!   I certainly don’t want your advice on using Social Media.  Oddly, I find self-proclaimed “gurus’s” and social media experts (who are these people?!) are the worst offenders.  I have no idea what their strategies or agendas are and I completely miss the point of their existence. 

6.  Tweeting too often.  No one has anything that interesting to say 100 times a day.  We know you aren’t real.

7.  Sending me and everyone else you don’t know, a message with no context, telling me to go look at whatever link. And you are?  Do I care?

Please, stop adding to the noise and learn how to do Twitter better!

Thank you

Yours Sincerely

Mindful, Interesting and very FUN Twitter Users

PS  If you insist on not correcting your obnoxious ways and continue behaving like this, then the only followers you will ever get are those who also bought into the automated systems and/or follow automatically.  They’re after the same thing you are. Inflating their numbers and looking artificially important.  Actually please follow each other as obviously you deserve each other.  A match made in Twitter Hell!

The naughty step for errant Tweeps
Now just think about your behavior!
Reading, UK – 2009

To get any lasting or real value from Twitter, you have to be active, interested and engaged.  So listen, participate and interact. 

Grab on to the “social” aspect of the new media and claim your corner to find your friends/fans/customers.

If you don’t want to play on Twitter with some regard to other people then at least please, please, please leave me out of it.



Be Nice or Leave – Manners Matter Even When They Can’t See You

 Preamble to Tirade

I’ve been online for about 20 years now (hey librarian here, as the original keepers of information we were one of the first to get all this good stuff), and have been heavily engaging with Social Media for about 5 years.  The majority of people I interact with online have been family, friends, clients, colleagues but since my plunge into Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my own websites etc., there’s the eventual possibility of everyone on who’s online anywhere – well maybe not everyone.
I have excellent Customer Service skills.  As a librarian and Canadian,  I genuinely mean it when I ask if I can help, and I can tell you to have a nice day with complete sincerity (hmmmm maybe not complete sincerity, but it sounds like it ☺).  Not that I’m a pushover, I chose a profession that provides service to others so it helps to be friendly, and I grew up in a fairly well-behaved place where most people are quite polite (until they get on their ice skates and you give them a stick).  Not that it’s Eden, of course there are rough edges, but mostly, we just get along.  No, it’s not a bland place either, it’s a lot less hassle to be polite so we can get on with our own thing.
OK, so you get the picture. I’m friendly, polite, respect other people’s space/ideas etc. I’ve worked in service for 30 years (including too many years as a waitress while at university and other naff, but terribly important jobs), volunteered, lived abroad and globe trotted extensively so I have quite extensive experience of human behaviour.
And before I launch into my diatribe, I will emphasize – most people are really, really nice, decent and completely unlike the losers I’m will be haranguing on about next!
Your choice!
Provence, France – 2007
Rhino painter unfortunately unknown
The Tirade
Shift formats and remove the human interface to enter the online world. 
Why, oh why do some people think it’s acceptable to become the playground bully and start playing nasty? 
Who are you and where do you get off!!!!!?
I know there are examples of bad behaviour everywhere in “real life”.  Even in the playgrounds of Canadian librarians but it’s not the norm.
Get online and it’s rife with mean spirited entities (I use entities, as some of these culprits aren’t even people, they’re bots written by some cretinous individual).  I’m not even going to start on spam, scams and emails from long lost relatives in deep, dark places.
My tirade here, is about plain ordinary, uncivil, incredibly boring rude behaviour from those small-minded individuals who abuse Social Media and are hurtful more than harmful.
A couple of examples:
1.  Unliking your Facebook page because you won’t be their “friend”
2.  Announcing on Twitter that they are #unfollowing you because you are boring/stupid/insert descriptive word of choice here
3.  Stalking you and tell you off for “unfriending” “unfollowing” “unconnecting” from them 
4.  Editing a tweet and then Retweeting it as the opposite of what was intended
5.  Sarcastic comments anywhere, with no attempt at irony or wit, just mean
6.  Ambushing an online conversation so it becomes all about them and their agenda
7.  Just plain telling tales
Honestly, what’s your point?
Rude behaviour on Twitter has become so prevalent that there is a term for a Twitter abuser – Twanker – “(noun) a person, organization, or company who uses bad form on or exhibits bad behavior on Twitter.”
Of course this term has since been “rebranded” or highjacked and is now cool in that anti cool way they have now.  You can’t even behave badly on Twitter without making it some kind of marketing ploy!
There’s a lot of serious online chat and research into this “rudeness” phenomena and why it’s so common in Social Media.  I’ll mention one article here:
I think the most interesting point is “moral disengagement.” The safer someone feels (i.e. anonymously hiding behind a computer), the more distance they have from the consequences of their actions, the easier it is for them not to care.
Fortunately, I have very little regard for the feelings of bullies and small-minded, mean-spirited individuals so I use the tools Social Media has given me.
Until you play nice I will continue to:
    – Moderate all the comments on my blog
    – Block
    – Report uncivil behaviour
    – Unfriend
    – Unconnect
    – Unfollow 
    – Uncircle
    – Delete, exterminate, get rid of in all its guises!
And mostly—-IGNORE
Because I do realise the bullies out there are only seeking attention.
Do you have any experience with online bores and bullies and what tips do you have to deal with it?  I’d love to hear your ideas.
Thanks for listening
A rose for the really, really nice people
i.e. most of you
Church Stretton, UK – 2009