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Social Ad Spend Expected to Surpass Print


Monday December 9, 2019

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Increased Social Ad Spend

According to the latest forecasts, social media ad spend is predicted to surpass print ad spend for the first time in history. The report indicates that while social ad spend will jump 20% in 2019, spend on print sources like newspapers and magazines will dip 6%.

Today, social media is the third-largest advertising medium, accounting for 13% of global ad spend. It is surpassed only by paid search (17%) and television advertisements (29%). Overall, television ad spend is shrinking, while total amount spent on paid search is expected to exceed $100 billion for the first time in history.

Growth Fueled by Small Businesses

One key contributor to this trend is the accessibility of social media advertising to small business owners. While multi-million-dollar budgets permit international corporations to purchase Super Bowl ads, radio promotions, and full-page spreads in prominent magazines, newer companies must instead tailor their approach to a smaller scope. There are two key benefits to social ads: comprehensive local targeting and an increased sphere of awareness.

Broader Reach, Increased Relevancy

For a fraction of the cost of traditional advertisements, family-owned businesses may make use of Facebook’s targeting tools to identify individuals near and far who are interested in their products or services.

On a local basis, marketers may tailor their ads’ demographic parameters to those who are nearby and interested. Rather than casting a wide net via the local paper or missing out on the younger demo, business owners are able to reach a different audience (without wasting money on irrelevant exposure).

On the other hand, social ad spend may be used to grow the brand beyond the confines of city limits. While small businesses were previously limited by word-of-mouth, today niche products and services may reach potential interested customers all over the world. Through social media, companies can build brand equity and loyalty; they are able to tailor their ad objectives to engagement and audience-building, rather than just attempting to sell a product or service

What Does This Mean for Your Marketing?

By keeping track of this data, businesses are able to position themselves in a way that takes advantage of changing ad trends. Social ad spend and paid search will play an increasing role in advertising in the months and years ahead. Use these ads to lead your customers to optimized landing pages for best results.

Founded in 1999, Webconsuls is a full-service digital agency headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. We have grown alongside social media platforms and major search engines. To learn more about our digital advertising services, call 949-701-4714.

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Deciding to invest in your digital presence is one of the most pivotal moments for any business in 2019. When done correctly, allocating a portion of your budget to online advertising can be transformational, bringing in a host of new clients and excited fans. However, many first-time marketers find themselves frustrated by the process of running ads on Facebook or elsewhere – how do you achieve a positive return on investment? Why does it feel like I’m wasting my ad spend?

With over 2.4 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the first stop for any business owner trying to make a splash online. While this marketplace may feel overcrowded, you can’t afford to sit it out – odds are that your competition is already there. It’s not too late to learn the ins and outs of Facebook ads, or to learn which pitfalls to avoid. Read on for some of our top tips.

What’s the Point of Facebook Ads?

The most critical aspect of any marketing effort is its goal. Without a clearly defined marker of success, you’re not going to see real results or feel that your ad spend was worth it. Do you want more phone calls inquiring about your services? A bunch of page likes to boost your brand image? Website visits where people learn more about your company? There’s an ad type for each of these objectives – be sure that the method you choose fits in with your overall goal.

Are You Targeting?

Even the most experienced users have more to learn about the nuance of Facebook’s ad targeting; however, the biggest mistake new advertisers make is neglecting this robust feature altogether. Facebook allows marketers to create hyper-specific audiences tailored by location, occupation, demographic data, and hundreds of qualifiers in between. You can even upload your own list of past clients and create audiences that are similar to people who have already used your services. The options are limitless, which is why it’s vital to ensure you’re serving ads to the right people.

Don’t Give Up

One of the little-known secrets of Facebook advertising is patience. Many people will become frustrated that they’re not seeing immediate results from an ad and will take it offline within the day. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make! The algorithm requires some time to optimize, meaning that you may need to give your ad a few days before it acquires enough data for you to make that decision. Bide your time before stopping the ad – you won’t regret it.

Test, Test, and Test Again

Another common error is putting all your eggs in one basket: running just one mega ad and putting all your spend behind that effort. While you may be seeing some measurable results, odds are that you have significant room for improvement. All aspects of your ad should be A/B tested for each audience – the headline, body copy, image, and call to action. This process may seem tedious, but it’s what separates stellar marketing from low-effort campaigns. By pitting these versions against one another, you can make a confident decision about which tactics are most effective for which potential clients.

Don’t Set It and Forget It

This is by far the biggest culprit for wasted ad spend. After tackling a few how-to articles, you may feel confident enough to set up your first campaign. Then life gets in the way, and your attention is called back to the business… until the billing period concludes, and you receive a massive invoice for Facebook advertising. Beyond losing money that you didn’t intend to, the larger concern is that your budget wasn’t used to effectively reach customers – and it could have been. Facebook ads require active supervision, which means that you should look in on them every day or two to see what needs tweaking. Be sure you’re consulting the reporting feature for a complete understanding of your ad activity.

Make Facebook Ads Work for You

Social media advertising is a crucial component of any digital strategy, and it’s important to ensure your approach is informed by best practices. Through dedication and a little effort, you can make Facebook ads a profitable marketing channel.

Webconsuls is a digital marketing agency located in Nashville, TN and Los Angeles, CA.

Reading Time: 4 minutes
too busy to stay connected
Staying connected can be exhausting, even with a ThunderShirt!

Are you too busy to stay connected?

It seems we’ve been too busy. The last time we published a post on this blog was June 12, 2012. There…we admit it. Staying connected should be easy in today’s world. We have so many platforms like FACEBOOK, TWITTER, YouTube and GOOGLE+…but the business of working with our clients has had to be our priority over the past few months. We have added some new clients which included new designs, we’ve worked with some clients with mobile website conversions, there are always updates to be done, staying abreast of SEO and SMO news and we are always coaching our clients on blogging and staying connected. But as they say: “The cobbler’s kids have no shoes and the plumber’s house has leaky pipes.”

Guiding new clients…

The other day a client asked about the best way to stay connected. The first rule is really “just do it!” If you want a FACEBOOK page, then remember very few people are going to “like” your page and stay engaged if you don’t take the time to let them know what is new with your business. Some clients want a full briefing about staying connected in the virtual world, including a history of social media.

Copyblogger comes to the rescue…

Today’s RSS feed included a link to Copyblogger’s latest post: A History of Social Media. And Copyblogger said we could share this history with our own readers. So here goes…be prepared it will take you back 41 years!

history of social media
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

What else keeps us busy?

If the infographic didn’t exhaust you and if you are anything like Webconsuls and our team, then there are probably 50 items on your daily “to do” list. New projects are always fun, it gives us a chance to learn more about our clients and the latest technology.

What’s on your “to do” list today? 

 

 

Reading Time: 5 minutes
facebook logo

We know it seems like of late we have focused a lot on business Facebook pages. A couple of weeks ago we talked about putting some finishing touches on your business page. Then we shared the evolution of Webconsuls’ Facebook cover photo. But here’s the catch: Like we said before, it seems Facebook is never finished and always evolving.  So today let’s talk about your business profile picture.

On April 18, 2012, Facebook page managers received the following message in their weekly Facebook page update.

“On April 26, we will be updating the size of the profile picture on all Pages. We are letting you know about this small change in advance so that you can update your profile picture on April 26. The new profile picture will be 160 x 160 pixels and will sit at 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top of the Page.”

A number of articles have been written about this update. The best and most clearly written with great visualizations is Facebook to Increase Profile Picture Size for Pages. Take the time to read this article. Want to see a variety of Facebook pages? Visit Facebook’s Discover Pages page.

Here are a few hints to consider when you are updating your profile picture:

  1. It does not need to be a picture of just your logo. Many logos are horizontal and do not fit neatly into a square.  For example, Coca-Cola has a horizontal logo, but their profile picture is of a Coke bottle which sends a complete message.
  2. If your profile picture is not sized correctly it will be blurry. You know you have seen many business pages with blurry profile pictures. Just last week we helped our client Clear View Business Solutions update their profile picture.
  3. You can opt to incorporate your “logo” in your cover photo and have your profile picture feature a product, people or a tagline/written message.
  4. If you are struggling with your logo, reach out to your web design company or a friend. Try to have different sizes and shapes for your logo. Remember your Facebook page could be your first and last impression!

Here you can see the latest version of our Facebook page. Notice the Profile Picture got slightly larger in the past couple of days.  Remember you can click on the image to make it larger.

webconsuls facebook

Hope you will leave a comment and let us know what is your favorite business Facebook page.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Two weeks ago I talked about adding some finishing touches to your Facebook business page. In particular, I urged you to create your business Facebook “cover photo” and to think through what message you wanted to send with that photo. Of late, I used our Webconsuls Facebook page to feature our clients’ Facebook cover photos. All the while, I was working with our Webconsuls’ team members to determine what our cover photo should say about us.

Here is a little of how this process went: We are not a traditional brick and mortar business, so we knew we wouldn’t present a photo of our storefront. We also knew that our team members live in five different states and three time zones, so getting together for a group shot was not going to happen. Additionally, we felt that taking the approach that we use on our Twitter page, that is listing our services, would not really make us unique or tell our story.

So how do we tell Webconsuls’ story? What makes us unique?  I remember when Dick and Dennis first decided to form Webconsuls. They went back and forth about what to name their business, how would they convey their vision.  The good news is they committed this history to a press release and here is what they wrote November 16, 1999.

‘The name Webconsuls was chosen very deliberately. A consul is an official appointed by a government to advance the commercial interest of its citizens in a foreign country. Webconsuls is conceived as describing “a firm which advances the commercial interest of its clients on the World Wide Web.” As Dick Fay recently remarked, “Web sites do not automatically produce dollars. Success is realized when web sites are carefully marketed and targeted, those activities being integrated into a tailored, well–orchestrated business campaign.”‘

And so, between a few emails and phone calls the Webconsuls’ team decided our cover photo should be a collage of the team members. It is not about being techies or understanding all the latest software and tools, but more about being people who work with other people to promote the success of our clients’ businesses. It is a collaborative process and we think that is what our current cover photo says.

webconsuls facebook cover
Webconsuls’ FACEBOOK Cover Photo April 2012 – click on it to enlarge!

What do you think? Notice I said current, because we can refresh it and keep it vital. Like any collage it tells a story…Dennis, Judy and Dick meeting 31 years ago at an ARCO training seminar, Malik’s college graduation and enjoying a California sunset, Heidi receiving her master’s from NYU and “horsing around”, Alycia and Bill celebrating their wedding in Hawaii, Dick supporting his beloved DUKE and the Phillies, Dennis meeting with clients, Daniel working with animals and ‘dressing to the nines’, Keith enjoying life and supporting the Toronto Blue jays…the story goes on.

We look forward to your comments or stop by our FACEBOOK page and “like” us.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ready! Set! Go! Today is the day that business owners will wake up to see the new look of their business Facebook page. Notice I didn’t say final or finished look. Because as we all heard in this scene from the movie Social Network…Facebook will never be finished.

Eduardo Saverin: So when will it be finished?
Mark Zuckerberg:
It won’t be finished. That’s the point. The way fashion’s never finished.
Eduardo Saverin:
What?
Mark Zuckerberg:
Fashion, fashion is never finished.
Eduardo Saverin:
You’re talking about fashion? Really, you?
Mark Zuckerberg:
I’m talking about the idea of it. And I’m saying that it’s never finished.
Eduardo Saverin:
Okay. But they manage to make money selling pants.

There was a time when I thought the most critical statement from this scene was “It won’t be finished.” But today I am thinking that Eduardo Saverin’s closing line “Okay. But they manage to make money selling pants” really is the more important message for a business Facebook page. Your business Facebook page should contribute to your bottom line in some way…it certainly should not be a liability. Come to think about it, I covered this topic two years ago when I posted: Nine Tips For Managing A Business Facebook Page.

Today I thought I would do two things:

  1. Show you how our Webconsuls’ Facebook page looks today, because we will start updating it and you can follow the progress by “liking” us today and staying tuned.
  2. Share a great blog post from Copyblogger. How To Create A Cover Photo For Your Facebook Timeline. Read this post carefully, as it tells you what the cover photo may “not do” according to Facebook’s terms. Also if you read some of the comments, you will notice that people have shared a link to their Facebook page with their new Cover Photo.

Now, just so we have a record, you know like a real old fashion scrapbook: Here is a snapshot of Webconsuls’ Facebook Page, March 31, 2012.

webconsuls facebook
Webconsuls’ Facebook Page 03/31/2012 (click to see larger version)


If you have already updated your cover photo, please share a link in the comments. I am going to post a link to this article on our Facebook page.  Remember: Like our page and check back to see our updates!

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Window shopping at Simpsons department store. ...Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday there were a number of GOOGLE headlines that went something like this: “Ten Recent Algorithm Changes.”(See links to other articles below) I don’t know about you, but whenever I read the word ‘algorithm’ I start to shudder. So in order to calm myself I try to think of an analogy that I can relate to our clients and help put things into everyday language.

One of GOOGLE’s changes is a new twist on fresh content. They believe that if you are searching for something on the web, then you probably want the “freshest” information. I could argue that a lot of my searches are for historical information, but we will talk about that another time.  The reason I want to talk to you about fresh content is that this is a guideline that Webconsuls’ team discusses with their clients on a regular basis, so now GOOGLE is again validating what all of us have really known for a long, long time.

“If you are trying to sell something, goods or services, you need to think like a window dresser.”

Do you know what a window dresser is? You don’t have to live in New York City to understand the importance of the professional window dresser. I am going to venture a guess that in any city, town, village or hamlet the most interestingly dressed store windows get the best traffic and probably can boast the best sales.

Now let’s think about window shopping. Old fashion window shopping is free! Do you see what I mean? The free part is you being able to take yourself or your whole family to a store…like Macys or to a mall and walk around and touch the items, try on the items, dream a little, put something on lay-away…and maybe, just maybe be so pleased by the user experience you will eventually make a purchase. Virtual window shopping is also free, but one can’t “touch” or “try on the goods”, so the content quality needs to be fresh and inviting.

The success of window dressing and window shopping is dependent on fresh content.”

This isn’t rocket science. The word algorithm makes it seem so, but it is really social science. When a person is looking for information, goods, services, they now tend to look on-line. They can buy items from all over the country, continent, or world. So how do you get their attention?  Simple! Be clear about what you are selling (in every sense of the word) and keep your content current and relevant.  Let me tell you a story…

“Some 30+ years ago I lived and worked in Hollywood, CA area. My office was on Vermont Avenue and I lived on Barham Blvd.  There was a wonderful gentleman who lived in my complex and owned a sundry store near the corner of Sunset Blvd and Vermont Avenue. My employer sometimes would ask me to go to the bank to make the daily commercial deposit, so one day as I am walking down Sunset Blvd I notice Sanford’s little store. The window dressings were so old and dusty that I almost didn’t walk in, but I wanted to say hi to my friend. When I got in the store what I saw was more dust, shampoo bottles with contents that had already separated and then I spotted Sandy behind the counter. I started to giggle and picked up one of the shampoo bottles…I asked him who would buy this stuff. He laughed and said: ‘Judy, I am not in the business of selling sundries; I offer a check cashing service for a fee!’ ”

There was no window dressing that said “Check Cashing Service”, in fact you had to creep around the store to discern that this service was the primary business. Do you see the irony in this story? I know you do. You might call this the “sales prevention department!” Again, it isn’t rocket science.

So what can you do to make sure your content is fresh and refreshing?

  1. Review your site for accuracy. Do this on a regular basis. Look for “dust”!
  2. Remember to keep your webmaster informed about new products, locations, staff members, sales.
  3. Take new photos.
  4. Consider publishing press releases.
  5. If you have a blog, check to see when you last published a post.  Remember each post is considered fresh content by GOOGLE.
  6. If you have a business Facebook page, be sure to have it linked to your business website.
  7. Link all of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn) to your website.
  8. Make sure your GOOGLE Places page is current. Read your reviews. Respond to your reviews.

And yes, there is this new thing called GOOGLE+ for business page.  I will be back in a few days to give you a primer in this latest way to keep your content fresh.

In the meantime…pretend you are a customer, go window shopping on your website, then pretend you are a window dresser. You may not care about fresh content, but GOOGLE does. What changes would you make? How would you freshen up your virtual storefront?

Reading Time: 4 minutes
I don’t know how many times I have posted about Twitter on this blog. You can search our twitter label and read all of those posts and it will let you see the evolution of this social media tool and our/my approach to it. It is kind of interesting, but today I want to talk about how Twitter is my virtual birdfeeder.

This morning I read a very simple Tweet from @lizstrauss How to change your Facebook Page’s Category. See it explained here.

This caught my interest and I quickly clicked on the link and realized that by “category” this news was about business Facebook pages. And that meant that I needed to really dig into this news. I tweeted back to Liz:

“thank you. I luv twitter 4 items like this. I’m like a dove sitting below a birdfeeder waitin 4 seed droppings.”

From Liz’s Tweet I went over to my personal Facebook page and saw an item from BlogWorld “Facebook Pages Get a Facelift.”  If you have a business Facebook page I hope you will take the time to read this post, Nikki Katz did a great job of summarizing this Facebook news.

In closing I would like to share a photo that I took today (from inside my house looking through a window). You can see our new bird feeder hanging from one of our Palo Verde trees. If you look closely you will see the small colorful wild birds taking seeds from the feeder, but just below you will see the doves and a squirrel enjoying the extra seeds that have fallen to the ground. It is a wonderful symbiotic relationship, not unlike what I enjoy with my Twitter friends.

bird feeder
Bird feeder- click on the photo to enlarge

I’d love to hear what you think about feeding the birds.  How often do you learn helpful hints from simple little tweets?

 

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Reading Time: 5 minutes
aaron helfand
Aaron with his Disney t-shirt 1983

We all have “aha” moments. Or better yet, we smack our forehead and say to our self “Why didn’t I think of that?” This morning I had one of those moments. I passed by the television which at the time was tuned to MSNBC. A promo ad was playing for MSNBC’s Sunday Morning show Your Business highlighting  uBlanket.

It is such a wonderful idea, great gift for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, showers, retirements…the list is endless and it is a functional, cozy memory blanket – a keepsake that tells a story.

I don’t want you to think or assume that uBlanket is our client. They are not (yet), but I love what they do and I think they have a great business model. Plus, I get a kick out of how simple the idea is. Think about it, or better yet, get up from your computer right now and walk over to your clothes closet or dresser (I am assuming you are at home or imagine you are at home). How many of these “memory or souvenir t-shirts or sweatshirts” do you own? I am going to bet dozens to 100s.

Here’s the thing. Yes, this is a great idea, but it is not original. You know how I know?  As I wrote today to Brett Snowden, Co-founder uBlanket.com:

about six years ago I was sorting through “stuff” with my younger son and we came across a bag filled with little t-shirts that had belonged to my older son. You know the kind of souvenir t-shirts that you buy babies and children when you are traveling, etc? Well, the older son stopped by the house and the younger son handed him the bag and told him to “do something with these shirts!” About four months later I received a package in the mail, a t-shirt blanket quilt made with the little t-shirts! Aaron and a friend had created the blanket.”

But you see, an idea doesn’t have to be original to be successful. It has to be acted upon. You have to think it through, plan it out, and do it!  In this case it really seems that Brett Snowden and John Murch are doing it right. They are doing it green and they are helping the homeless, too.  You can follow them on twitter @uBlanket and like them on Facebook.  

Let me know what you think? Do you have an idea you have been thinking about?  Or did you have an idea that you wished you had developed?

blanket
Do you see the Disney T-shirt on Aaron’s Memory blanket?

 

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Did the title of this post, “THE Can Be a Powerful Word”, get your attention? Think about it for a minute. Now if I say: “It’s THE Real Thing” or “When you care enough to send THE very best”, I’ll bet you can name what brand each statement refers to without blinking an eye.  Am I right?

Branding is something every business needs to do. Establishing a brand can be taxing. You create a name, you create a product, maybe you get a patent, maybe you apply for a trademark, maybe you copyright your material, and maybe you are the product! And after all is said and done “the customer owns the brand” as Jeff Hayzlett informed us at Blog World Expo 2010.

I am not sure, but I suspect that the Mandalay Bay Resort management was thinking about their customers when (according to Wikipedia) “In 2006, the lettering at the top of the tower changed to ‘THEhotel’ to distinguish the property. Formerly, the lettering was identical to the ‘Mandalay Bay’ letters at the top of the original tower.” You see the Mandalay Bay Resort opened in 1999; however, what is now referred to as THEhotel at Mandalay Bay opened in 2003.

Prior to the name change imagine the confusion a hotel guest faced: What do you tell the taxi driver, upon arrival you might not be sure which hotel tower to check-in at…or you may wander around in the casino and then make your way back to the wrong hotel tower. (Think Co-Op City in THE Bronx!)

the hotel

As you know Blog World Expo 2010 was held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center. Happily I was a guest at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.  I can truly say THEhotel is a well designed beautiful hotel. Every room is a suite, no smaller than 725 square feet. And THE is the only word you need to know when you are trying to find your way around THEhotel. They don’t have fancy or clever names for their on-site amenities or venues: THEpad, THEtp, baTHE (toiletries), THElounge, THEcafe, THEstore, THEcoffeebar. (click on the photo on the left) You see what I mean? Simple and understated. This customer owns the brand!

In closing, I would like to share something I rediscovered today about the word THE. Did you know: “that the pronunciation of the definite article ‘the’ changes, primarily depending on whether the following sound is a consonant or a vowel?” Before a consonant sound the pronunciation is thuh, before a vowel sound it is usually thee.

By the way, if you think I am off base when I say THE can be a powerful word, maybe I can interest you in a UBS commercial effort.

On the other hand, THE Google never did sound right and we are told in “The Social Network” movie that it was Sean Parker who advised Mark Zuckerberg and  Eduardo Saverin to drop THE from The FACEBOOK.

Your thoughts?
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Reading Time: 9 minutes
living room
How old are you? Do you imagine that you will still be productive when you are 82? Or do you hope to retire before you reach 50 or 60 or 70? I want you to meet my friend Rose. Rose works for The Seaward Inn located in Rockport, MA.You might remember hearing of Rose when I wrote about the Seaward Inn in October 2008.
 
For the record, I have never met Rose in person. I have only talked to her by phone or by e-mail. It was this past May that Rose sent an e-mail concerning a news story about The Seaward Inn that had appeared in the Gloucester Times. She wanted to make sure that the story was used on their website. I wrote Rose and told her it was handled to which she responded:

 “You know Judy, at age 82 I find all this Facebook and Twitter so fascinating. Such a wonderful challenge for me. I love it. Thanks, Rose”

I wrote back to Rose: 

“Rose, You make me giggle.  Why would I ever know or think you are 82!  I love everything you send our way. We so much hope you have a great season.  Judy”

The other day my friend Chris Brogan wrote a blog about “When Novelty Wears Off.”  As usual, he posed some powerful questions about social media like: “What am I doing with XYZ technology? Is it pushing my business forward?” His questions reminded me of my friend Rose. Rose has lived through a lot, she is like Betty White. She is not afraid of new technology, but she knows her main business goal is to assist Nancy Cameron-Gilsey in running The Seaward Inn.
 
Ultimately, I think Chris is trying to caution everyone to keep their eye on the ball. To that end I would like for you to know more about Rose and how, over the years, she has kept her eye on the ball. Here, in her own words, is a little bit about Rose’s career:

 “The only thing older than the Seaward Inn is the Atlantic Ocean and me, believe me I am no prize. I have always loved promoting events, etc. and have had a big appetite for music, all kinds. Love the musicals, Phantom of the Opera being my favorite, but I love the music of Barry White as well. Then there is all the music of the 50’s and 60’s, The Beatles, Peter Paul and Mary and before that the Andrew Sisters ..and of course Elvis. I could go on and on about music. 

Perhaps you remember my coffee shop some 25 yrs. ago,  Rosie’s Coffee Shop Plus in Brown’s Mall. That was put together on a whim, another one of my thinking outside the box ideas…I had fun with it for about three years and then sold it. Took it on when Main Street was dying and the businesses all left the Mall and it had become such a sad establishment. My shop became the heartbeat of the Mall and I tailored my shop to accommodate the clientele like Gloria Stevens …from special menu for dieters to the guys who pumped iron in the exercise club as well as the cops in the Police Station across the street. I’ve been a bookkeeper for years, having studied accounting through a Chrysler Dealership,.. worked at Boley’s back in the 50’s and then for Gloucester Dispatch and did bookkeeping on the side for various small businesses including the Outrigger at Rocky Neck. When the Cameron Sisters took back the Inn from leasing it, I came in to help Nancy start up the books and I’ve been at the Seaward Inn ever since.

I love the Inn, there is something very Special about it and when the economy tanked in Rockport I couldn’t bear to see our beautiful dining rooms empty, so I talked Nancy into bringing in the music …let locals enjoy the view and the Inn. She said we couldn’t afford it but I told her where there is a will there is a way and I asked her to give me a budget and let me give my ideas a try. Well, the rest is history.

Sunday Morning Live has been successful far beyond my expectations. We have had some really great performers at the Inn. I screen all, choose from the best and try to bring as much diversity as possible to the SML Series for the season. It has grown, and with the help of Judy at Webconsuls, our webmaster in Arizona, and other media we are getting the word out there and have quite a following already.

You wanted to know something about me, well there it is, not very interesting, and believe me, you are not missing anything by not meeting me.” 

I don’t know about you, but I am glad I met Rose. She is an inspiration. 


I’ll ask you again: “Do you imagine that you will still be productive when you are 82?” 
 
Here you can enjoy a YouTube video of the Sunday Morning Live Series, 2009.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

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Reading Time: 7 minutes
9 tips managing business facebook
Judy Helfand’s Facebook Avatar

Do you have a personal Facebook page? Do you own a business? Have you created a Facebook page for your business? If so, here are nine tips for managing a business Facebook page.

So many of us have a personal Facebook page. Like anything else, it starts out fun and interesting and before you know it you are consumed with reading, posting, etc. Some of our clients have business Facebook pages and often they will ask for advice about how to manage their page, so today I thought I would give you some pointers I have learned. Maybe you know of some other ideas.

Again, I do not profess to be an expert, but I do try to read as much as possible regarding Facebook, as it relates to promoting a business.
1. Be Social: Facebook because it is a SOCIAL Networking site encourages people to get involved. Unlike your personal page, anyone can now find your business page by simply searching your business name. They are “free” to say they “like” you and they can then post good news and bad news. This means you must monitor what is happening on your Facebook page. Think of it like Trip Advisor, YELP, or other social sites. Here is an article that addresses this issue of Facebook reviews. So remember with a business page anyone can find you and “like” you, then they can post to your wall and write reviews!
2. Photo Album Tips: Creating photo albums can be time consuming. What concerns me here is I do not know what ramifications there are to posting photos on Facebook. If you own a business I would take precautions to get permission from any of your employees, guests, customers, actors, etc before putting a photo on your page or in an album. Instead of creating separate photo albums on Facebook, push the people back to the page on your site that deals with photos. It might be a tour of your restaurant, your theatre, your inn, etc.
3. Drive Traffic: With a business Facebook page you should always want to drive the traffic back to your business website. So for example, if your business is a restaurant, don’t just put your menu up on Facebook, instead talk about your menu and put a link to your website’s menu page so that people will get to your site, not just your Facebook page. You will notice when you put in the link you can choose one image to display. The whole idea is to get people back to your site.
4. Status Updates: When you update your status try to include a link to a page on your website or a news story. Every time you update your status your followers will learn about it.
5 Respond: You need to be ready to respond to people when they post something on your page. Remember when you sign in, look at this view: Your Business Name + Others so you can see what the Others are saying. If they ask a question or say something, then respond to them. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with your followers.
6. Share Articles: When there is an article about your business in the local newspaper or a magazine you should make it a point to mention it and link to it.
7. Main Domain: Always when you are referring to your website use your main domain (if you own more than one). If you use different ones, even though they redirect to your main domain, this can be confusing to people.
8. Social Media Buttons Help: Add links to your Facebook page using a social media buttons. Make it easy for people to follow you on the social networks.
9. Stay Informed: Follow the news about Facebook. For example here is a headline from May 7, 2010:  Understanding Facebook Privacy and the latest news on May 24, 2010, Facebook Privacy Tweaks Coming.
These are my nine tips. Can you think of more? Share them here.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

News Flash: I follow Chris Brogan on Twitter. A few months ago I attended Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. I wrote about it. I promised that I would try to apply what I learned. One of the first things I did was to begin following Chris Brogan. Don’t get excited. I am one of 124,385 followers. (To put this in perspective I have 41 followers.) You are probably shaking your head and asking “is Judy nuts?” But to that, I say: “Does me being one of 3,400,000 TIME Magazine weekly subscribers or one of 6,685,684 National Geographic monthly subscribers shock you or make you question why I would even think of “following” these honored publications?” I hope not. I subscribe to these publications, local newspapers, SEO/SMO on-line newsletters for the same reason that I follow Chris Brogan – each opens avenues to useful and timely information that can impact my business, Webconsuls’ clients, and my personal life.

This past week Chris mentored: Don’t Forget the Little Side Streets. Exploring side streets with Chris Brogan is quite a ride. I hope you will take the time to read his post, he offers really good insights and, unlike a few, Chris is optimistic and looks for ways to extend the expiration date for some of these “streets”. For example, when was the last time you:

  • examined your “YELP” reviews
  • verified your Google Local Business Center Map
  • updated your Bing Local Listing Center
  • checked out Yahoo Answers
  • refreshed your Facebook Fan page
  • responded to a Trip Advisor review (negatively or positively)
  • tweeted something of positive value, as opposed to a rant

Navigating and maintaining these “streets” takes time. But the beauty of the Internet in general and social media in particular is the fluidity and vitality that you can manage to. Every time you think you don’t have time I want you to find a business person who can recall the angst of designing and ordering a brochure. Trust me. Before the ink was dry the area code had been split in two, your AAA rating had changed for the better or the beautiful maple tree that graced your front lawn had fallen. Yes, maintaining your “streets” and exploring side streets takes time, but you can do it on your time and make your journey as interesting as you want. There really is nothing like a road trip.

Here is my favorite photo of a real “side” street.

no name street
No Name Street 2000

This post is dedicated to Chris Brogan, thanking him for inspiration.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Web 2.0 and social networking may not be for everyone! Living in a world of “avatars” and mood status updates is not as important to some people as it is others. One finds this out after they have already taken the time to set up detailed accounts about themselves. Thousands of people have found that closing a Facebook, Myspace, or LinkedIn account isn’t the easiest task. Sure you can turn your account off or deactivate it, but all of your personal information and pretty much everything you have typed in is archived somewhere along the vast information highway. Killing one’s virtual self has been quite a burden, almost equal to the burden of living it. So then, how does one commit virtual suicide?

Now, you can use the Web 2.0 suicide machine to completely scrub your Internet presence. The program will use the log in information you provide and go through all your social networking accounts deleting your existence. “Suicide Machine has assisted more than 1,000 virtual deaths, severing more than 80,500 friendships on Facebook and removing some 276,000 tweets from Twitter”, according to TIME Magazine. Suicide Machine is so popular that thousands of people are waiting their turn for their own “cyberoffing”. “Our server is so busy handling the requests,” says Suicide Machine co-creator Walter Langelaar. Whether for a good or bad, there is no turning back or second chances at life; once you have committed to the deletion it will take nothing short of an act from God to reverse the procedure. When the suicide process is complete you’ll receive a “cybermemorial” on the site. “RIP, 2.0. We’ll miss you”.

Facebook, so far is the only social network in up in arms about this new service and feels that the company is breaking the law “citing violation of users privacy”, which is impossible because the individuals voluntarily submit their information to Suicide Machine; LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter have not yet publicly made a comment about Suicide Machine. Earlier this month Facebook blocked Suicide Machine from accessing its site. However, that has not slowed down Suicide Machine’s creators, the euthanasia goes on. “Compared to the more than 350 million users [on Facebook], we think deleting a few hundred is not very impressive, but they picked up on it as a potential threat”, says Langelaar.

If people are waiting in line to have their Internet lives deleted for good, then it will be interesting to see if the trend continues. So many people open social networking accounts and never once go back online to use them, so then deletion makes sense in that they would no longer want their information out there.

Reading Time: 13 minutes

Webconsuls Newsletter, Winter 2009, 4th Quarter

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to take a few minutes to wish all of our clients a happy and healthy New Year. This newsletter will take you down memory lane as Webconsuls turns 10 years old, spotlighting those clients who have been with us for those 10 years, welcoming new clients and sharing some milestones.

Webconsuls turns 10!

Dick and Dennis actually met at an ARCO Business Seminar in June 1981; however, their careers took them on different paths. It was not until October 1999 when Dick and Dennis met again and decided to form Webconsuls.

Dennis likes to recall how Webconsuls came to be…he was recently interviewed by http://www.arcoalumni.com/ and here is their article:

ARCO Alumni Dennis Helfand and Dick Fay built entirely new careers post ARCO. Their focus is to help commercial clients “generate new and/or additional revenues through web presence marketing.” Says Helfand, “We transitioned from a ‘hobby’ to a serious business enterprise very quickly. Webconsuls currently has about 90 clients across the US and a few based in Asia and Europe”.

Having been Director of Public Affairs and Field Operations, at ARCO, Helfand took the 1985 Early Retirement Package at ARCO Alaska, “my wife and I bought a 120-bed country inn resort in New Hampshire’s White Mountains National Forest area, which we operated from 1986 until 1997. In the mid 1990’s, while at the inn, I became interested in learning about marketing the property via the Internet and pursued this activity with great interest. When we sold the inn, we were already realizing quite a bit of revenue from internet-generated leads.”

After relocating to Newport Beach, CA, a number of my former NH-based competitors (friends nonetheless) contacted me to market their facilities over the internet. This became a sort of hobby, earning a few dollars here and there in the process. Then two serendipitous events occurred.

  1. An inn owner and close friend had been trying to sell his property through Realtors. There were very few prospects and not a single serious buyer. I suggested selling his property over the Internet for a “marketing fee.” This was in 1998 and I believe it may have been one of the first commercial property sales via the Internet. Best of all, my web marketing fee amounted to just about one percent of the total sales price!

2.  The second fortuitous event was meeting my former Crude Supply Manager for lunch in 1998. I asked him about Dick Fay (W. Richard Fay) from ARCO Transportation Company. He said Dick recently retired and was looking to do something new and interesting.

The rest is history. Webconsuls.com was established in 1999. We formed an LLC and got serious very quickly. On-Line courses and technical publications gave us new skill sets and we gradually acquired outside specialists to assist us as our business grew. My wife Judy, a business analyst in the information technology field joined Webconsuls in November 2006.

We have seen our business thrive and look forward to continued growth and new experiences.

Clients come and go…
Over the past 10 years Webconsuls’ team has had the privilege to work with over 300 clients in a variety of industries. Each client is unique and that is what makes web design, SEO and SMO so interesting and vital. Judy recently looked back to see which clients started with Webconsuls in the Fall of 1999 and of those which ones are still our clients. Interestingly enough, there are four! They are New Hampshire Campground Association, Motorcars East, Newport Channel Inn and Edna Deeb Law.

Here are some interesting facts from Webconsuls first business quarter: 22 clients, nine California clients, nine New Hampshire clients, four Connecticut clients, 31 invoices!

New Clients round out our base…
We are happy to introduce you to our newest clients and we invite you to check out their websites.

Celebrate a New Life **

Creative Care

Green Clean OC **

Hardline 830 **

Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen **

Promises Foundation

Rockport Inn & Suites

Snap Out of It Now

Surfing Heritage Foundation **

We are also working on either new sites or redesigns for

Savoir Faire Language Institute

Forrest General Healthcare Foundation

Executive Maintenance

Wallace Physical Therapy

Law Office of Salvatore Ciulla

The Internet Grows and Evolves

Dick Fay remembers how when they first started in 2000 Webconsuls could make some small changes to a site and viola! the site would be on the first page of Alta Vista. The number of competitors to most sites was measured in the hundreds, pay per click was in its infancy with something called Overture, Google was an upstart, and no one had heard of Social Marketing. Potential clients were trying to decide if they “needed” a web site. Websites themselves were usually static and straightforward.

Now some clients face thousands or millions of competitors for key terms, Google has about 70% of the search engine marketplace, pay per click is huge and requires expert management to be successful. Clients are deciding when to redesign their web site to keep it up to date with the available technology. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and video are staples of many successful businesses whose owners work hand in hand with Webconsuls to grow their business.

Webconsuls Grows and Evolves

Webconsuls has also grown and evolved over the last 10 years. We have added a third partner, Judy Helfand. The entire team keeps up with the latest in Search Engine Optimization. We have added specialists in web design, pay per click, social media, and link building. We have redesigned our web site several times to reflect our growing business. We have added a blog and links to news feeds on Search Engine Marketing and Social Media. Check them out:

Search Engine Optimization

Social Media Optimization

You can also follow us on Twitter

Let us know if you have a twitter account and would like us to follow you.

Webconsuls’ Team News…

As most of you know Malik Moosa-Soomar, our web development specialist and designer, was married to Zaheen Allibhoy on April 11, 2009. Dennis, Judy, Dick and Fran were happy to attend their wedding celebration in Austin, TX. Speaking of weddings, Dick and Fran were married February 20, 2009. Keith Hansen, our pay-per-click specialist, and his wife, Diana, welcomed a baby boy, Layne, on April 26, 2009.

We are happy to welcome Alycia Kaczuwka as our new Social Media expert. Alycia is working with our clients focusing on brand-building using tools like blogs/RSS, Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking. She brings her extensive background in audience development and website design to social tools to keep the SMO process in focus as an integrated part of a web-based marketing plan. In addition, Alycia has a comprehensive background in web analytics using Google Analytics and Omniture to measure campaign performance and return on investment.

Happy Holidays

This year rather than send a small gift to our clients we are making donations to the following:

Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine
The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine is successful mentoring relationships for youth in Knox, Lincoln and Waldo Counties, contributing to better schools, stronger communities and brighter future.

The Promises Foundation Miriam’s House
The Promises Foundation is committed to restoring hope for families by creating a safe environment for mothers and their children to grow and develop the tools they require to live meaningful and self-sufficient lives.

Sincerely,

Dick, Dennis and Judy

Reading Time: 9 minutes

This year I had the opportunity to attend BWE09, better known as Blog World and New Media Expo 2009. This event took place from October 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike many of the 2500 attendees this was my first year participating. And unlike many attendees I did not spend my days there blogging, tweeting, or otherwise updating my friends and followers. I just tried to take in the process, that is I tried to listen and learn. And hopefully, I will be able to care for and serve some, if not all, of Webconsuls’ clients. I actually thought about writing this post as soon as I returned home or even while I waited in the Las Vegas Airport, but then it occurred to me that it would be better to really write about BWE09 looking in the rear view mirror. So here are some of my “bytes” on BWE09.

  1. While I have been participating in blogging for about two years and I am on Facebook and have a Twitter account, I would not rate myself as someone that knows everyone in the blogging and new media world; therefore, attending this event was not about hooking up with old friends, but meeting new people and learning from the “experts.”
  2. The exhibitors were varied and engaging. I enjoyed talking to people from all over the world, like the Zemanta team from Slovania (and, yes, I intend to learn more about their product). The ArmyStrongStories.com team was engaging and they had a great display. And then of course, I enjoyed speaking to Robby Berthyme who was representing wheretogetengaged.com
  3. Brian Solis moderated a good keynote discussion about the “New Celebrity” with Anthony Edwards, Jermaine Dupri and Robin Antin. All of these participants made it very clear that if you are using Twitter, Facebook, etc…you need to be yourself, engage with people, and manage your own accounts (don’t hire a staff to do this). Write about yourself or your cause, don’t just keep re-tweeting!
  4. One “outtake” from this keynote discussion is that I found it incredible how rude 70% of the audience appeared to be behaving. This was an hour long presentation and it was beyond me why people could not just sit and “listen”, as opposed to working on their laptops, running their fingers over their iPhones or thumbing it on their Blackberry. This behavior was annoying and to top it off, even though they were really not paying attention, they would join in the intermittent applause like robots or dummies.
  5. Dave Peck of LSF Interactive was interesting and provocative in his conference “How to Socialize Your Content”. I just discovered that he posted many of his “rules” here for the small business owner. His advice I intend to try to incorporate into Webconsuls and to share with our clients.
  6. I really enjoyed the conference “How Twits Lay Golden Eggs – The Art of Social Engagement for Business”…Chris Brogan and Laura Fitten had a lot to offer and they did not make the audience feel inept, but offered real guidance.
  7. Dan attended this conference for Webconsuls also. It was interesting to watch Dan, who had not been to Las Vegas since he was 13! It was great to attend the conferences and then share what we had learned.
  8. Las Vegas is an aging city and I don’t think it is aging gracefully. As we rode the marvelous monorail I noticed that many of the buildings look dated and dirty on the outside, almost as if the original architectural plan did not allow for majestic aging. Many strange and vacant lots can be seen as you ride “behind” the strip.
  9. I don’t think I am the only BWE09 participant that questioned the parties that BWE09 sponsored. As one person said on Twitter: “bwe09 parties are a lot like Twitter – noisy, loud, dark, and ineffective at organizing communication”. I couldn’t agree more! Imagine being at the Mirages’ Jet Night Club with many of the same people who could not put down their laptops and iPhones during the keynotes, only it was too dark to read their nametags and the music was too loud for introductions. Another person echoed these sentiments: “The parties at #bwe09 remind me of college. How old are we? Where are the real parties?”
  10. Flying Southwest Airlines will be a subject for another post.
  11. Finally, I would like to thank the three ladies that shared a Hilton Limo with Dan and me. We were attempting to get a taxi to go to the airport and we found ourselves sharing a limo with Kim Rowley and Joanne Dinslage of Key Internet Marketing and Maarika Neudorf of Enterprise Estonia. We had a fun ride and got to meet three more BWE09 attendees.Ok, that is it for today. I am going to get busy learning how to apply all that I learned – stay tuned.
Reading Time: 8 minutes

I got up this morning and to tell you the truth I really didn’t know what to post about today. The week has been busy working with clients, Dan is rafting this weekend, Aaron returned from his vacation, our client Jason Ackner stopped in for a visit – it is fun to meet our clients “face to face”, it is nice to receive happy news from Facebook friends (Deb and Dan Fischbein’s oldest son Josh is getting married today and Scott and Elyse (Wolf) Davidson returned to the Mount Washington Valley Theatre Company to perform in “Hello Dolly” directed by Andrew Glant Linden with assistant Bev Brennan and receiving rave reviews), we had a terrific rainstorm in Tucson yesterday about 3:00PM, and now it is Saturday morning. I happened to read an article this morning from Time.com which had to do with the President and the First Family taking a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, specifically Oak Bluffs, and of course I thought back to my one and only trip to Martha’s Vineyard. I think I once sent a postcard from Oak Bluffs. If I didn’t, I should have.

It was 1991. On April 1st Dennis and I decided to take a few days off from the inn and travel to Cape Cod with our good friends, Gerry and Elaine McManus (by the way we still hear from Elaine; however, she and Gerry divorced around 1996 – see their photo below taken by me on this trip). I believe we were trying to celebrate Gerry’s birthday. What we didn’t realize was this: in those days most of Cape Cod is still not really “open for the season”. But off we went and after stopping at the local Chamber of Commerce we actually found a nice hotel on the water called the Ocean Club on Smuggler’s Beach South Yarmouth. By about the third day of our adventure and after seeing two movies, Dances with Wolves and Sleeping with the Enemy, we thought we would take a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard. Again, we soon learned that you don’t just show up to take a ferry ride. You need to plan this if you intend to take a vehicle with you to Martha’s Vineyard. So there we were at Woods Hole and we decided with our ‘devil may care’ attitude to board one of The Steamship Authority’s ferries that did not carry vehicles and did not have restrooms!

elaine and gerry
Elaine and Gerry on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

When we inquired of the ferry staff how to find the restrooms they advised us that we would need to wait until we arrived in Vineyard Haven. And so we arrived, but the public restroom on the dock was closed for renovations. People on the dock directed us to The Black Dog (a well known restaurant); however, they were not open yet for the season! So we decided to walk into the town, as certainly some establishment would allow us to come in and use their restrooms. No luck. The businesses were either closed or emphatic we could not come in and use their restrooms. We walked further until Gerry said he would not continue on this “forced march”. At that point Gerry and Dennis hailed a passing taxi. The driver stopped asked us where we wanted to go and our response was: “Take us anywhere on this island where we can use a restroom and have a meal.”

Next stop: Oak Bluffs. I remember how friendly the taxi driver was to us. He took us to a great little restaurant, whose name I cannot recall at the moment. (Funny how your brain can recall the name of the restaurant that was not open, but cannot remember the name of the restaurant that was open and treated us so kindly.) Anyway the taxi driver told us he would come back in a couple of hours and pick us up for our return trip to the Vineyard Haven harbor. And sure enough two hours later we were back in the taxi and on our way.

I enjoyed learning more about Oak Bluffs in the Time article. Wonderful interesting history. So today as the First Family prepares to spend a few August days in Oak Bluffs, I will remember fondly my few hours there some 18 years ago!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

 

dan waiting for godot

Last night your Sunday blogger, Dan, was literally Waiting for Godot on Broadway. Since Dan is traveling today, sans laptop, he asked me to post a blog for him. You may remember reading Dan’s May 24, 2009 post Waiting for Godot is Back on Broadway. In that post Dan reported that he was able to get tickets to last night’s performance of Waiting for Godot and he was beside himself with anticipation. After all, Dan was going to see this Tony nominated production with Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman, and John Glover.

I am sure Dan will want to write his own review of this production, so I will take this opportunity to tell the sidebar story of how our Facebook friends played a “role” in Dan’s ultimate adventure last evening.

When Dan first discovered that Waiting for Godot was playing on Broadway he went on line to see if and when he could secure tickets. It appeared that the only seats available at Studio 54 for the time frame that Dan could be in New York City were in the back side aisles. So Dennis suggested that we call Angela DeCicco, our longtime friend since 1992 and Facebook friend. I called Angela and asked her if she was familiar with the seating at Studio 54. She asked us why we wanted to know and when we told her that Dan was trying to get tickets for Waiting for Godot, she said “Don’t worry. Tell me when you want to go and I will have Matt (her husband) order “house seats” for you.” For those of you not familiar with the term “house seats”, they are ‘not available through the box office. “House seats” are some of the best seats in the theater, set aside for use by cast members, producers, the creative team, and others directly involved in the production.’ Keep in mind, these seats are not free of charge, you pay regular price, but they are the best seats in the house and Matt Stern (Angela’s husband is a well respected Stage Manager on Broadway) secured these seats for Dan! Just for fun, here is a photo of Dan with Angela taken on Broadway April 1997, when Angela was starring in the Broadway production of Les Miz.

dan helfand

But back to Facebook…a couple of weeks ago I reconnected with a friend through Facebook, Beverly Brennan. She in fact is also a mutual friend with Angela. Beverly contacted me last week to say she had just read on Facebook that Dan was going to the city to see Waiting for Godot. She reminded me that she now works for ON Location Education and she tutored the two little boys who play the part of BOY in Waiting for Godot. I asked Beverly if there were anyway she could arrange for Dan to be able to go back stage after the performance. Beverly sent an email to the stage manager, but didn’t hear back. So last evening when the production ended, Daniel made his way to the stage door and waited. The door opened, a gentleman asked Daniel if he could be of help and Dan said something to this effect: “I am a friend of Beverly Brennan, the tutor for Matthew Schechter, and I am wondering if I can say hello to Matthew.” The gentleman asked for Dan’s name and said he would be back in a few minutes. The next thing Daniel knew he was backstage being introduced to Matthew Schechter and his parents. Matthew gave Dan a tour of the stage, introduced him to Bill Irwin and John Glover. All in all, quite a night for Dan and his friend, Josh.

Now if all this isn’t enough excitement…last evening I casually asked Daniel how were the “house seats”? He calmly replied, “They were perfect, Row H, dead center…and by the way I was seated right next to Harrison Ford!”

I have said it before, Broadway is filled with magic and the unexpected! Comments, anyone?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Exactly one month ago I was on Facebook making a comment to a Webconsuls’ team member. Why I was commenting is not important; however, what I determined in the commenting process was that my team member did not have a US Passport. His exact words were: ‘Last time I left the country I didn’t need a passport, We don’t get out much…’ Don’t get out much? What if you have an emergency? What if you have an unexpected opportunity? The US Passport rules changed effective June 1, 2009. Who needs a US Passport?

The easiest answer to my rhetorical question is every US Citizen should have a US Passport. Effective June 1, 2009, US Citizens now need a Passport (or an enhanced Driver’s License issued by some states) to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and 17 nations in the Caribbean region.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am discussing passports on a Saturday morning. Well, I learned a long time ago that having a passport just makes good sense. In 1981, Dennis had to travel on business to France. Before he left he insisted that Aaron and I get our passports, just in case there were an emergency and we had to travel to France. So 28 years ago this month Aaron and I were issued our first US Passports. (See the photos below).

Now let’s talk about today. Webconsuls has clients in foreign countries and while we have not yet traveled to visit our client in Cambodia or the Bruzzos in Italy, it could happen! Here in Tucson, the owner of La Fuente Restaurant recently asked us to travel to Mexico for an afternoon.

The up shot of my Facebook discussion with my team member is that this week our Tucson neighbor offered us the use of his condo in Rocky Point, Mexico(overlooking the Sea of Cortez). We called our team member and asked him if he wanted to go with us…but alas, no US Passport!

Who needs a US Passport? You tell me….

Reading Time: 2 minutes

INQ Mobile released a Facebook phone last year and plans on releasing a Twitter phone by the end of this year. No information has been released whether the phone will be released in North America or Europe. It should have a QWERTY keypad to easily post a 140 character message on twitter but not confirmed.

The phone will cost less than $140 and given the price, you can’t expect to have any high-end features on this device.

Personally, I feel that phones with the web browser allow you to access social networking sites. The only thing this phone has going for it is the price and somehow making it a reduced monthly fee for using the data plan on most service providers.

Will this handset last in the mobile market or has the Twitter trend run its course?