Twitter calms down

Shih Wei points to this SFGate article by Howard Rheingold as the best “why use Twitter” piece she’s seen. What I like about it is that it’s something you could send to a non-Twitter user, even someone completely uninterested in social media, and they’d “get” why many people like Twitter.

As Howard points out at the beginning of the article, Twitter is settling in to the online landscape, and there’s a shakeout happening. The trend-happy types are decamping for the next hot thing, and a core Twitter community is emerging.

I’d been drifting away from Twitter in the past couple of months, using Linkin for professional networking and FaceBook for personal networking. It didn’t help that my Twitter account got hacked last month and I had to grit my teeth and apologize to hundreds of people for the inconvenience spam messages from my hacked account had caused them (it was the first time in more than 15 years online that I’d  been hacked). But the advent of a lists feature in the Twitter interface has made things more manageable and encouraged me to give Twitter another try.

Heart-felt gift suggestion

Does your child’s or grandchild’s school need an AED?

It’s boxy. Yellow and blue. Weighs five pounds. (Why would I give a gift that homely?)

It costs more than $1,000. (Why would I spend that much?)

It might be months before the recipient even opens it up to use it. (Does this woman know what she’s talking about?)

As a matter of fact, I do know what I’m talking about. The bulky, yellow-and-blue item is an automated external defibrillator — a device that really changes lives. Because it saves them.

My client, Joe Hage, the director of marketing communications for Cardiac Science, just sent out an email offering special pricing on Powerheart G3 automated external defibrillators for schools. As of Friday afternoon, he has 19 units left.

Here’s why he’s doing it:

Each year, 7,000 children in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest. The deaths often occur in gym class or on the sports field, where undiagnosed heart conditions first kick in. Sudden cardiac arrest is just what it sounds like: the heart stops beating and the victim collapses. At that point, there’s a rapidly shrinking, 10-minute window in which to get the heart to start beating again before the story ends in serious brain damage or death.

The work Joe does, and the work I do for him, often puts us in the position of interviewing parents who have sent a perfectly healthy child off to school, or to basketball practice, and never seen that child alive again. Everyone involved is distraught — even more so when it turns out that no AED was available.

AEDs don’t guarantee survival, but they sure change the odds. Consider this: The sudden cardiac arrest survival rate in the U.S. is about 5 percent. But a study published in the August 11 issue of Circulation found that in U.S. high schools with AEDs on site, the cardiac arrest survival rate (for adults and children) rises to more than 60 percent.

Joe’s the parent of two little boys. The numbers, and the stories, haunt him.

Joe and I have also had the opportunity to interview parents, teachers, coaches, and school administrators who just can’t stop talking about how amazing it was to save a life using an AED. And we’ve talked with kids like Kaitlin Forbes. She collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest while playing softball and was revived with her school’s AED.

Joe, who donated an AED to his own sons’ school, is offering the remaining 19 Powerheart G3 AEDs for schools at $1,495 each. With every purchase, he’s including a set of pediatric pads ($99) and a wall unit ($189) to keep the AED prominently displayed and easy to access.

Does your child’s or grandchild’s school need an AED? You can reach Joe here.

Holiday greetings

For every Scrooge you might offend (“Bah humbug! Wasting time writing holiday cards when she should be editing my annual report!”) you’ll have a dozen other clients who get the “warm fuzzies.”

There are plenty of good reasons to send holiday greetings to the clients of your small business.

Allena Tapia, the Guide for Freelance Writing, writes that for every Scrooge you might offend (“Bah humbug! Wasting time writing holiday cards when she should be editing my annual report!”) you’ll have a dozen other clients who get the “warm fuzzies.” Or, at the very least, notice that you’re organized enough to do a holiday mailing.

This year I’m sending out a mix of printed cards and email greetings. I was rather astonished to see that I have two significant clients (both with out-of-town companies) for whom I don’t even have snail mail addresses!

OK! OK! I’ll blog

Do you think people see the term ‘author’ as more established, and ‘writer’ as more wannabe?

I’ve been roundly chided for neglecting my three blogs, but, I tell you, it’s discouraging to forge on in social media activities after this recent survey about Twitter success:

In Part I of “What Gets You Twitter Followers,” Andrew Chapman of analyzes the profiles of thousands of Twitterers.

The initial results are not surprising: People who provided a URL, use an avatar, and have a bio or description in their profile have more followers than those who don’t.

But then he began to look at the words used in the Twitters’ profile text. He reports: “The only words in the top 50 or so terms associated with above-average follower counts were: blogger (2323 – remember the average was 1449), artist (1692), girl (1711), fan (1712), author (3681), entrepreneur (2663), director (1683), marketer (2541), expert (4273) and singer (2300).”

What you may have noticed, as I did, is the absence of the word “writer.”

“Although author gets 3681, writer gets only 906 – maybe people see ‘author’ as more established, and writer as more wannabe?” Chapman muses.

The lack of glamour attached to the term “writer” reminded me of a comment made by a literary type I knew in college. We were walking down the street on a cold New England evening after having extricated another friend — an up-and-coming musician — from a crowd of admiring groupies. The aspiring writer was whining.

“It’s not like I can invite people over to my apartment to watch me write,” he fumed.

Now, back to work (blogging on behalf of clients). I promise to resume blogging here on a regular basis. Though if someone were to send a box of chocolates ’round to my dressing room, it might help…

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