Devote Yourself to creating something that gives you purpose . . .

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

Tuesdays with Morrie, author Mitch Albom

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Connections - Social Media?

The current buzz is all about Social Media networks. Recent articles have been broadcast over the Internet on how these venues are growing in significance. Do you know how your Market Demographic is using social networking sites?

About a week ago, I read an article about how women 55 + are moving in record numbers to using Facebook® as a source for making connections, so much so that they predict that the younger crowd, who it was originally designed for, may be in search of a new site and letting the more mature generation take over.

Why are so many women joining in to use this social media site? Well for one, women have a need to connect with others and talk about what is important to them.

A Research Brief posted this week (April 22, 2009) reported that 88% of marketers in a recent survey are using some form of social media to market their businesses, and a majority of them have only been at it a few months (77%) - Social Media Success Summit 2009.

Learning about the tools that are most significant to your market demographic is important to growing your business. The following article entitled "Social Networking Generates Leads, Closes Sales for Marketers" posted by Jack Loechner creates some real insight to what tools are being used by whom and how long they have been using that source for making connections.

Did you know that men are more likely to use YouTube or other video marketing than women? Does this information influence where you spend your time?

Do you have any idea how much time should be invested in social media sites to have an impact on your business? Do you know how much time the average business owner is actually using social media?

To see the full article go the attached link:

Maybe you are just learning about the phrase social media and don't exactly know what that entails. According to Wikipedia, social media or social networks can take on many forms. Some of the common forms include: internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts.

Wikipedia also reports that:

It's a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.

Here is a link to read more:

Written by: Rhonda W. Geneva
Geneva Girls Designs, LLC

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Open for Business

Back in the day when I was growing up, many women stayed at home to raise their children. Life was not easy as women struggled to make ends meet, keep meals on the table without all the modern conveniences, often canning and freezing food from their own gardens. They were raising children with hopes that they would grow up to be responsible and respectful human beings. Women of this time would get together on occasion to support one another over a pot of coffee, or they would socialize through women’s groups found within their churches.

Many of the same networking needs exist today, but women are finding it harder to carve out time to create “girl time” needed to support one another. Many of us are tightening our purse strings to put food on the table as we are living in uncertain times with all-time high unemployment rates. Women are still focused on raising responsible and respectful human beings while encouraging their children to explore oodles of activities some of which did not even exist just 3 or 4 decades ago. Conversations with one another may be limited to brief encounters as we take our children from place to place. Many women have lost touch with their neighbors, especially in climates where we hibernate in the winter. Social media groups are at an all time high, and recent analysis indicates that women in my age group are the largest growing demographic to use these sites. We are missing the all important girl time where we learn about one another’s lives and support each others endeavors. We are replacing "face time" with FaceBook®.

Recently I agreed to host a gold exchange party in my home. I started to review my list of acquaintances and friends. There are neighbors, health club, church, preschool, dance class, swimming lessons, tennis lessons, ice skating (yes my daughter is very active), business associates, professional organizations, friends of the family, and friends of friends. So many women have affected my life in positive ways, that I felt the need to do something more than just ask them to come to my home toting their used jewelry and receiving cash in exchange for the precious gold commodity. I felt like this encounter would do very little to affect the lives of those I’d come to know and it seemed so pointless. A little gold, a little cash, no big deal, and then they would be on their way. These ladies mean so much more to me than that.

I started to think of how my daughter, adopted from China, and I had started supporting women’s business in Asia where a little resource goes a long way. We have aligned ourselves with the goal of contributing funds through an organization called KIVA which matches lenders, to those requesting resources to expand their business. Initially I thought, okay, we will take the proceeds that we gain from the gold exchange party to continue advancing our cause to help women and children, but I realized that we haven’t taken the same mission to heart here in our local community where the need is growing.

After scheduling a cup of coffee with another women-owned business owner who I met through “social media”, I pitched an idea that I had, and her enthusiasm was overwhelming. We could create greater exposure to women’s talents and/or businesses in our local community so that we would know what each other are doing. By making a few small connections, we may be able to stimulate the local economy, share ideas, lend a hand, barter services, and have a little face time too. The Internet is great, social media is great, but lets create a forum that provides multiple events a year bringing women together, showing our accomplishments, letting each other taste, feel, see, and hear what we are doing. Yes, this is not new, but it feels new in our lake shore community.

We started to speculate that there may be some talented women who have never really considered running a business or they may be stifled by fear of the unknown that they are too afraid to start. Those of us who have crossed over many bridges could help those starting out, and those ahead of us, could offer some very sound advice. The network that we could create by just sharing our stories and our lives with other women could make such a difference. Match making shouldn’t be reserved just for those wishing to meet a soul mate, the connections can contribute greatly to the success of women in our local area and beyond.

We've all heard of the "Six Degrees of Separation" which is a theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. This theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains."

In 2001, a college professor at Columbia University named Duncan Watts conducted an experiment on the Internet. By sending an email where people were requested to forward the email, he uncovered that he was able to validate this theory.

Most of us are probably more familiar with the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" which is a popular trivia game. In this game someone in Hollywood is linked to another person through their work which eventually leads to someone who has worked with Kevin Bacon. Players are challenged to find the fewest links to find someone who has worked with this actor. This game originated from a comment made by Kevin in 1994 when he said that he had worked with everyone in Hollywood or someone who worked with them. The game was actually invented by three Albright College students. A book, a board game, and Internet game and several spoofs on TV have all been associated with this trivia game made from a comment just fifteen years ago.

Why not create a network of women with the primary purpose of making connections. We will call ourselves 3 Degrees - Connected™ (as we do not want to infer that we are separated by six degrees, but that we are connected through 3°. Women are resourceful, when one woman meets another woman, and thinks about who might benefit from an introduction we start the process rolling. We create a momentum that will very possibly have exponential growth. Won’t it be fun in six months to a year from now to see how we have helped our community? Won’t it be fun to learn of the impact that we have had on other communities? Stay tune and follow this journey with us as we post our triumphs along the way.

Mark Your Calendar - May 20, 2009

Here is the kick off event

Date: May 20, 2009
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.

Location: TBD - stay tuned

More Information to Follow