Dearest Obama

I have about 9 blog posts to write tonight… and I just dropped them all to rampage on President Obama’s social media team.

30 minutes ago I received a direct message on Twitter from @BarackObama. The notification came through my iPhone and I was like — whoa!!! I read the first line… ‘Twitter influence’… then I saw ‘follow/retweet’… and then fire shot straight through my veins.

Dearest Obama, 

Why the hell are you sending me an auto-DM?

No.

Your #1 fan {except for tonight}, Jillian

I remember when everyone was sending auto-DM’s. EVERYONE. Some slimy message would arrive in your inbox that pleading for you to subscribe  to their list, read their newsletter, check out their website, blah blah blah.

About a year ago {maybe longer}, people started calling out people who used auto-DM’s. Why? They were impersonal. They were spammy. And lastly, no one wanted them.

Fun fact… people don’t really want to be sold to on Twitter. Whoaaaaa! ;) People want you to help them, educate them, share knowledge with them, interact with them etc.

Twitter is insanely powerful at building relationships {especially with people you wouldn’t normally be able to access in your day to day}.

If you are doing good work, providing good content, building your brand, super legit at what you do… people will buy from you. You don’t need to do any of the begging, cold-calling, $1.99 for 10 packs of gum, spammy selling on Twitter. It’s not the marketing platform for it.

Anyways, back to Obama fueling my fire…

3 issues with Obama’s private message:

  1. “Use your Twitter influence” … Yuck. Really Obama Twitter team? REALLY? What even determines Twitter influence? Did you use Klout to determine influence? Did you send this auto-DM based on follower count? Did you send it to all your 21 million followers and just write “Twitter influence” to make people feel they’re cool?  Pretty sure if we were talking “Twitter influence” for this online campaign {and you were wanting to send a nasty auto-DM}, you should have sent this private message to AMERICANS who are of voting age in the youth market {I think that’s who you’re trying to target!}. You may have even targeted youth in specific states you are concerned are voting Romney.
  2. “Follow/Retweet @Obama2012” … People will follow you if they’re interested in your content. People will Retweet you if they want to. Don’t beg. Ever. Blah.
  3. “Join the Twitter team” … What the hell is a Twitter team? Anyways, I clicked on the link because I was curious. FOR REAL OBAMA? “Retweet! Retweet! Retweeet!” Ick. What do you want people to do again? “Join the Twitter team” to Retweet the crap that comes from the @Obama2012 account? Why don’t you create an online discussion forum where people can chat politics? Why not support online conversation and get people talking about why they are voting Obama? Why not unite people over your #Obama2012 hashtag that already exists and track reach and engagement through analytics?

    “Join the Twitter Team” – Obama 2012 Campaign

I presume I’m not the only Canadian who was sent this auto-DM by Obama… not only can I not vote in the American election, but I also cannot join the “2012 Twitter Team” as I don’t live in a state {it’s not a mandatory field, but you know what I’m saying}.

What did I get out of this auto-DM?

A total social media headache. And maybe a little less faith in Obama’s social media team.

Well done team, well done! :P

Another fun fact to end this post. President Obama signs his tweets “-bo”. Kinda cute. :) @BarackObama‘s Twitter account states:

This account is run by #Obama2012 campaign staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.

Pssst… Twitter is about relationships and community.

If Obama’s social media team was wanting to beg for retweets via this slimy auto-DM, they could have at least got the President onboard with a “-bo” so that people would feel a tad more special and maybe go along with the game. Heh. ;)

I will stop now.

Signed,

Not a social media expert. 

PS – If you’re on Obama’s social media team and reading this post… {hiii!}, please stop by the library and pick up The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. Fantastic read on building community in the digital world.

Twitter Redesign

Today Twitter rolled out cover photos! Yep, cover photos — just like Facebook!

They’re super cute and one more way that you can portray your brand to the masses.

Wanna get Twitter hip? 

Edit Profile > Design > Header

Your way cooler now. Happy Tuesday. :)

Life… Filtered

I often think I live in a bubble.

I continually practice and preach — surround yourself with who you want to become. Over the years I’ve only let that expectation {on myself and others} become more hardcore. I have little time of day for those that I don’t respect. I’m not really that patient with people who are in a funk for a long time — figure it out and move forward. If you can’t, that’s cool — just get off the friend train.

Your happiness is up to you.

You’re not going to be happy every moment of every day — life generally gets in the way of that. :) Sometimes I want to kill people {figuratively.. of course}. Sometimes steam comes out of my head and I think — my god, you’re a fucking idiot. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed and I melt down into a puddle of tears. Life isn’t always rosy — the goal is to recognize opportunity in difficulty {even if it’s not in the moment}. :)

You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

And for that reason I surround myself with positive people I admire and respect. Hopeful, game changing, goal setting, movers and shakers. People who are moving forward, always learning, and pushing themselves to truly be the best they can be.

This afternoon I started to think about the beast that is Twitter. ‘Surround yourself with who you want to become’ gets a big ol’ it’s complicated when it comes to Twitter. Psychos, they’re everywhere… ;) I rely on social media for my ‘news’. At the same time, I’ve always been that girl who is pretty out of the loop when it comes to current events. I can definitely talk to you about the latest productivity tool, innovative business idea, charity campaign, community event or HR tribunal case. But do I have the faintest clue about what’s going on in Greece? The state of Afghanistan? The obesity and health care problems in the United States? The number of murders Chicago has in a day?

No. Not Really. I know that all those things exist. Twitter gives me a surface level dose of information on lots of things — but rarely I know any details. The good — and bad thing — about Twitter is that you have to ‘opt in’. I need to decide to follow CNN, the police radio scanners and other news channels.

You get to choose what information you see.

Although I no longer follow the #YYC hashtag {the bees knees of what’s going down in the city}, I still follow a substantial amount of people from Calgary. This afternoon tweets started coming through my feed about a 12 year old boy who had died in a freak skateboarding accident — absolutely devastating for his family, the community and the young boys who were with him this afternoon. May you rest in peace Duncan.

If I hadn’t been online at the time this accident hit the news, I wouldn’t have heard about it. It never would have crossed my day, week or month.

Sometimes I wonder what else I miss.

I didn’t know about any of this:

Today this is what I caught on Twitter…

Note: Bit of a girl power feed today. Please note that I do follow men on social media — like whoa! :) Lots and lots of amazing men — including James Altucher, Alex Blom, Gavin SealDerek Shanahan and Pete Williams … for whatever reason, they didn’t pass through my eyes today. Shame on them — they better try harder tomorrow!

My version of the ‘news’… for the most part I follow individuals and brands who fit into my interest groups: entrepreneurship, startups, employee engagement, business, innovation, creativity, self-development, life hacking, community activism, fashion, running, fitness, yoga, travel and the like. I follow people I look up to, people that I admire, people that I can learn from. Every one of the above tweets made me smile. Every one of the above young ladies makes me think twice, expands my mind and makes me laugh.

I don’t ‘opt in’ to the typical news sources because they fill my feed with negativity, sadness and a really freaking bad vibe. The most ‘news’ I’ve got going on is global and local small business sources. The news is rarely about rainbows, the cure for cancer, or the latest charity drive. Instead it’s about murders, disasters and horrific situations taking place across the globe. The news is sensationalized, ego-filled and often one-sided.

I know that people die every day. I know that terrible things happen to families, communities, cities and countries — every day.

But how informed do you need to be?

Is it ignorant to shut the door on current events?

For the most part I don’t watch television. Ok ok… fine. Yesterday I dedicated a full 2 hours to the Bachelor Pad. {Absolutely dead to the world from a sleep deprived, music filled weekend. I was having a moment.}. I did cut television out of my life a few years ago — I was way more productive without it {and it was one of the best decisions of my life}. I don’t listen to the radio, in fact I don’t even know the name of a radio station in this city. The only place I’d think to buy a newspaper is the grocery store. Can you even buy them elsewhere? This whole reading news on an iPad thing doesn’t turn my crank at all.

I’m connected to the world via social networking tools and magazine subscriptions to Fast Company and Inc. That’s it.

I like Twitter — mostly because it’s quick and dirty. I am given the information I want in a timely manner. I get to choose what I want to see.

In order to stay current on what’s happening in the world, I’d have to follow all the news sources — and then click on the links — and then read my day away. Soon enough I’d be in the know about the war in the Middle East, the water shortage in Africa, internet censorship in China, the latest earthquake and how the US is planning to manage terrorism activities.

But how will that make me better?

Will that help me find my place in this world?

Will that bring me clarity?

You become what you think about most.

Just thinking about the possibility of filling my life with news updates is giving me anxiety. No different than yesterday or the day before, I can’t watch the news. My mind deserves more.

I plan to stay in my bubble — the bubble filled with music, spreading love, giving with your whole heart — and continual soul-searching.

 

A Lonely Connected Life

I often turn online relationships into in-real-life. I meet incredible people online, why wouldn’t I want to meet them in person? Upon meeting, I often get the same response:

Thank you for meeting with me. I know how busy you are.

Wow, you know so many people. Your calendar must be packed. 

You have so many friends.

Regardless of meaning to, people sum you up before they meet you. I pride myself on being very much like my online persona. People meet me and say — you’re one in the same and that’s refreshing. So they know the basics… I’m extroverted, love to chat, work in HR and I’m always out and about in the community. But then comes the assumptions, I’m popular {because I have a ‘following’ obviously}, I’m intimidating {because I throw down the smack obviously}, I’m organized {because I’m involved with a lot of things obviously}, I’m loaded {because I live the sweet life obviously} and I’m spoiled {because my parents totally took care of me obviously.}

All of it makes me laugh. Just a wee bit ridiculous. Popular? Well in high school I was totally introverted and more academic, book worm than gossip girl. I have friends that I love, yes — but I wouldn’t call it 90210. Intimidating? I have a bit of a no-bullshit way to life and I definitely voice my opinion whenever I get the chance. I get this more from guys, then girls… I think it may have to do with gender norms than anything else. Organized? I’m the worst. Do I have my heart in my work and life? Absolutely. I respond to meeting requests weeks late, my email Inbox is a disaster, tweets overwhelm me and I haven’t checked the voicemail on my landline since September 2011. Loaded? I was raised well but my parents didn’t pay for everything growing up. I spend the money most would use for a house downpayment on travelling the world and I shop at H&M rather than Holt Renfrew. Spoiled? I spoil myself from time to time, does that count? ;) This week I went for a mani/pedi — and I loved it.

I usually just look at people in shock and say:

Stop being crazy. I’m just me.

Over the last 8 years the online world has had a much bigger impact on my life. I’ve had the opportunity to connect and meet with incredible people. People who I hold close to my heart and would do anything for. I’ve had the opportunity to grow my brand and have a voice in the community. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much about myself and the world. I’ve had the opportunity to give back to others through a new medium.

Every so often, I get home on a Friday night, check Facebook to see what I missed, laugh over the latest Instagram pics, respond to the 30 mentions on Twitter — and then think whoa. Not whoa I just spent 30 mins on social media, but whoa no one called tonight… whoa I never called anyone tonight. It’s 8pm on a Friday — it’s been a hell-ish week and I just want to go out for a glass of wine.

Where are my friends?

Regardless of all the positives of social media and living in a connected world — in-real-life relationships are still gold.

Over the last year, I’ve probably been the worst friend that I’ve been in my whole life. I constantly feel pulled in a million directions and I often don’t keep up with the time quality friendships require. I tend to ‘book’ friends, whether that mean scheduling them in the calendar or blocking time to ‘save’ for friends. I send birthday cards late. I go 2 months without seeing a friend, even though I’ve been thinking about them everyday.  Couple all of that with the fact we have shifted to a world of Facebook announcements — everything from the new baby to the marriage to the new job to the cancer scare. And if you miss the update? Bad friend alert.

As a generation, we have to commit to knowing everything about our friends through two channels. Remember the days when you would talk to your friend every 24 hours and catch up on what happened at school, the fight you just had with your mom and what you thought of the boy down the street? If you were really intense you talked on the phone while watching Saved by the Bell, maybe a little MSN chat action too. You would say things like — Hey let’s hang out Friday… Ok, sounds good!

It was easy.

We live a busy, scheduled life. Social media competes with work, which competes with community involvements, and friends and family. While I was in Costa Rica in February, I missed the birth of a friend’s baby. A friend from university who I totally cherish, but because we live in separate cities now most of our communication is online. The announcement goes out on Facebook — baby born! I catch the update 3 weeks later. THREE WEEKS. I was horrified. I missed the birth of her first baby. Damn you Facebook. If I had written it down I wouldn’t have missed it, but instead I depended on technology just like it wants me to.

I share therefore I am.

If I don’t sign into Facebook everyday… I miss birthdays. If I don’t wish a happy birthday to all of these people that are mostly my friends {but gosh I don’t know, Facebook is a bit of a beast and there’s for sure people in the slew that I don’t know at all anymore} … then they will look into it. What a bitch. She didn’t wish me a Happy Birthday.

Expectations of friendship hasn’t changed — but technology has changed. And I don’t believe we’ve really thought through how the two intersect. Lines have blurred. We’ve swapped hugs for texts. We have a fear of interrupting other peoples days and plans because they might be ‘busy.’ We default to email communication and hiding behind the computer screen when we don’t want to deal with something. We text, tweet and talk at the same time.

Just because you put out a lot about yourself online doesn’t mean that the people listening are your friends. Just because you know a lot of people doesn’t mean they are quality relationships. Social media complexes the traditional ‘networking’ and friendship models.

Focus on quality over quantity.

This morning local dynamo, Sonia, shared a TED talk by Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone? It was originally created for TEDxUIUC in February 2011 and has now been picked up on TED.com. The talk focuses on how we expect more of technology than we do of each other and it was a great watch.

As a global community, we are connected. As a Gen Y community, we are dependent on being connected.

This isn’t a call to action for you to be less connected. This is a call to action for you {and me} to be more aware of how you spend your time and how dependent you are on technology. Commit to yourself that you will be a good friend and value your in-real-life relationships. Do whatever you need to do to remember birthdays, weddings and all the things that matter to the ones you love.

Call people because you care. 

Send a card in the mail because you’re thinking of someone. 

Your ‘followers’ on Twitter, your ‘friends’ on Facebook, your ‘connections’ on LinkedIn {and the list goes on} are just numbers. Forget about influence, focus on friendship.

At the end of the day:

  • Who would give you the gold star for being a great friend?
  • Who would hold your hand if you were going through a health scare?
  • Who have you helped lately?
  • Who has your back?
  • Who knows you?

What do you want to be known for?

The popular girl?

Or the girl that changed the world surrounded by people who had her heart?

Stellar Saturday: Holiday Edition

Every Friday, the Twitter nerds like to do a little thing called “Follow Friday.” You can recommend other people to follow — and yah, for the most part it’s lame. Why? Because people like to go “#FF: Friend A, Friend B, Friend C, Friend D, Friend E, Friend F, Friend Get the Hell out of my FEED.” Everyone has their own way of doing things, but I’ll only follow your suggestion if you tell me 1) who to follow and (most importantly) 2) why I should follow them.

So anyways, 2011 was a year of absolute disorganization and chaos. I found myself always missing Follow Friday. Sometimes I would get a #FF or two, sometimes I wouldn’t… sometimes I would thank people, sometimes I wouldn’t… it was all very stressful. For the most part I avoided it all together. Instead, on Saturday… I would tweet #StellarSaturday to the masses. My recommendations would come — always heartfelt, just not timely.

As we near the end of the year… there are so many people to thank. I’ve chosen 20 people that I had the opportunity to meet in real life this year. Some of them I met online and took the relationship offline and others the opposite. I can vouch for every single person on this list. They are incredible souls that the world is lucky to have.

Amanda & Ashley – Quite the duo in my opinion. By day, Amanda is Amanda Hamilton Interior Design — and by night, she’s having dance parties in hibiscus flower pyjama pants, hot yoga-ing or not sleeping. Amanda and Ashley are best friends — and they work together! Ashley has some funky title that I can’t remember, but the jist is she designs her day away at the AHID firm. Follow Amanda if you want to have some serious laughter in 2012 — also for crazy rampages and capital letters. Follow Ashley for tweets about life, design and to keep tabs on her gorgeous hair.

Arpen – When I moved to Vancouver, Jill {another one on the list} had recommended that I meet Arpen. She said that we would get along perfectly and be instant friends. Who doesn’t need cool friends? Anyways, Arpen and I went for coffee early this fall and my gosh, she is divine. She’s entrepreneurial, has mad style and is quite the energizer bunny. We talked like, love and the future. Since then we have laughed till the wee hours, discussed joint business ventures and filled our bellies with wine. Arpen doesn’t tweet too often, but follow her if you want to keep tabs on Popchips {she’s the Marketing lady for Western Canada} — and you can also peer pressure her to tweet more.

Cadi – The lovely Cadi Jordan. Cadi and I had been following each other for quite some time prior to my move to the coast. She consults in the spa industry and is the mom to 2 angelic little children. We went for lunch on the Glowbal patio in late summer and conversation came naturally. She is an ideas person — but unlike many {me, included}, she can turn ideas into action! Over the last few months, Cadi and I have connected on so many levels. I’m grateful we had the chance to meet and excited for what we will create together in 2012. Follow Cadi for everything to do with the spa world, health/wellness and the latest in the world of social media.

Chelsey – The first time I met Chelsey was when she arrived at my condo to spend the night! Chelsey and I had been following each other on Twitter and Instagram for quite some time. She reached out to me in early December asking if I had a hotel suggestion for an overnight stay in Vancouver. I told her she could stay with me! Took a risk, but I had good vibes. Chelsey is a journalism/communications student at Royal Roads in Victoria, a fashionista and a charming young woman. Follow her for the latest on the RRU campus, travel, community and everything fashion.

Dan – I have no idea when I met Dan, but I think it was 2011. We had been following each other on Twitter and I practically fell in love with him. The next thing you know we’re having pizza at Una, then tea at Higher Ground and dining with the Perogy Boyz. By day he manages Higher Ground in Kensington. By night he is a food blogger, food journalistic, food geek, food die hard — and is the bright mind behind Start from Scratch. Follow Dan for pure entertainment {he often tweets to himself from his multiple accounts}, delicious recipes and for making the best London Fog in town.

Derek – So this one time… in August… I received a BLOG COMMENT… from a STRANGER. Whoa, eh. I read skimmed the comment, thought it was well thought out — and immediately thought, I must know this man. I emailed Derek telling him that I appreciated the comment and that we should go for coffee. He blew me off for ages, until one day in November I get a random text from him saying that he’s spotted a girl that looks like me. That leads me to learn that we live in the same building and he’s totally a stalker. {… kidding, kind of.} His positives :) are: Founder & COO at Foodtree, connector at Startup Drinks Vancouver and he also holds up a decent conversation. Follow Derek for random tweets about food, music and the community — oh yes, and for being a loyal Summify fan.

Erin – Well well well… this Mrs. Erin Kelly is the leading lady behind Team Kelly. She sells you a mortgage, gives you a mortgage, lends you a mortgage, hell I don’t know. I didn’t go to her for a mortgage. On the side, Erin has a knack for cards and she has a company with her sisters called Card Sisters (clever, eh?). During my final weeks in Calgary, I made a point to turn Erin and my online relationship into IRL. She started off our date at Starbucks by buying me drugs {… Tylenol, obviously} and water! How sweet is that! Anyways she’s an absolute riot. Follow her if you want to be part of the cool crowd — and also for everything to do with mortgages?, real estate?, neurotic behaviour, family and love love love.

Harry – Harry used to have a Twitter bio that was too cool for school. He seemed like a hot shot, so although we regularly chit-chatted, I refused to follow him. One day I was at Club Monaco buying pleather pants and Harry made a hot shot comment. Well, that was the beginning of our relationship. Not too long after, I went with Desiree Dupuis to see a band play in Kits — and Harry was there. I was obviously prepared and had my pleather in full force. Harry has a good soul. It oozes out of him. He’s a family man — with a wife and 2 gorgeous children. He owns Digital Smart Homes — the best way to make your home digital and smart — again, catchy. In 2012, Harry is going to teach me how to be more organized with email. Follow Harry for the usual day-to-day, plus tidbits of everything surf, snow and family.

Jen – Jen is the Founder of NetworkinginVancouver.com and the Executive Director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund. She is a connector and knows practically everyone in this city. More importantly she has a great heart. She’s a mom, wife and a friend to so many. I met Jen {briefly} at the Art of Marketing this summer in Vancouver. Then shortly after I moved here, she took me under her wing. She kept me in the loop on what events to attend and ensured I had a social life! Jen is a game changer in regards to the community. She’s associated with fantastic initiatives and always has a great new idea. Follow Jen for everything related to Vancouver, constant support and also a refreshing perspective on life — also get in touch with her if you are hosting an event in this city!

Jeph – For whatever reason a pile of people from Saskatchewan have ended up in my Twitter feed. Jeph is one of them. He was in town for Grey Cup weekend, so I told him we needed to meet. After all, we were pretty tight on Twitter… gotta put an in real life face to a name. Jeph and I went to Glowbal’s Coast for dinner {btw, he was scared to eat fish} and had 5 hours of brilliant conversation. Pretty sure we both won ‘best dressed’ that night too. He’s smart and sharp — 2 great qualities! He also inspires me to be better {sap} and has quite the head on his shoulders. Follow Jeph for fresh marketing content and to see what he gets up to in 2012 — amazing things, I’m sure of it!

Jill – Earlier this year, Judy Brooks sent me an email saying that Jill was going to be in Calgary for a conference and that I must meet up with her. We had a double Jill date at Taste {miss you Brendan, Shawn and Bill} and I fell in love with her spirit. Jill is the CEO of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, leading lady behind momcafe Network and the mom to 2 brilliant young girls. She is a connector, entrepreneur and fantastic human being. I feel absolutely blessed to have met Jill this year, she is a bright light. Follow Jill to stay in touch with the local community and learn about fellow entrepreneurs.

Katie – One evening I was at a Stella & Dot party and this tall looker caught my eye. She was wearing a statement necklace and had a glass of wine in her hand — my kind of lady! Katie spends her days producing TED events and giving back to the community. She’s always in the know with the latest change the world initiative and previously was the Co-Chair at YES Vancouver. Time with Katie always leaves you full of love, light and learning. She has lots to teach, so book her for coffee and soak it all up. Follow Katie if you would like to learn new words and be corrected on your grammar — or is it grammer. ;)

Marley – Marley and I have buckets of history… here’s the story (part A and part B) of how we met online back in 2010. This year I had the privilege of meeting her in person. Then shortly after (cause it’s a small world and all), she started working with the fab crew at The Art of Productions in Toronto. Marley is on a mission to change the world and my gosh, you should be along for the ride! She is a regular blogger and is always meeting the latest celeb… yes, she has a whole album of celebs on Facebook. Follow Marley for to learn about the life of a 20-something, gain support in your fitness goals and be randomly inspired.

Michelle – I met Michelle through the Amanda & Ashley duo… I think. Michelle is one of those crazy Asians that just seep into her life. {Except that one time when she unfollowed me on Instagram…} She plays the guitar, wears plaid well and has a great sense of humour. She’ll bust out a move anywhere and Asians all over the world want to be just like her. I met Michelle in Calgary, but it’s important to note, that she’s the 1st person from Calgary to visit me in Vancouver! Follow Michelle for the latest on music, design {yes, she’s a Designer too!} and life in Calgary.

Rob – Rob and I met at JJ Bean on Davie! We are very like-minded when it comes to HR and decided to meet in person. He’s the Founder of Gowerk — performance management done differently {and an excellent tool for small businesses}. He challenges the norm when it comes to HR, understands business problems and solutions and always pays for lunch… ha ha. Follow Rob to keep tabs on Gowerk’s new products, sarcasm and most importantly, to watch him pick fights with all those awful HR people that exist in this big bad world.

Sandra – Opposite to the story of Chelsey, I first met Sandra at the Chinatown skytrain station. She waited for me at the escalators — what were we doing? We had never met in real life, but Sandra offered for me to stay at her place for a week in June! She gave me a heart duvet, Cachaca and bucket loads of laughs. Sandra is a Fashion Consultant, Writer and red-haired dynamo. Follow her to experience storytelling in the streets of Vancouver, random adventures and fashion inspiration.

Shannon – This fall, I invited myself to an event with Women of Whistler (tag-a-long with the wonderful Jill Earthy). Long before I officially met Shannon, I knew who she was… She’s one of those bright people who absolutely light up a room. I had my eye on her throughout the evening, thinking… I… must… know… her. Shannon works for a media company — but MORE IMPORTANTLY, she’s behind a brilliant concept called Pretirement Living (and Diana too!). Shannon is absolutely captivating. Check out the Pretirement blog (… hell, join the movement!) and follow Shannon to learn more about life as a Pretiree.

Tara – In February, Tara and I were both invited to Toronto to star {ha ha} in a Dove Canada promotional campaign. To watch the video, click here. She’s the CEO of Buyosphere {if you’re a fashionista or buyaholic, you must check it out!} and an inspirational woman entrepreneur. I’ll have to admit, she intimidated me at first… but my gosh, she is so down to earth and just oozes with transparency. It has been fascinating to watch Tara grow this year. She writes books, speaks all over the place, blogs on aging and lives life authentically. Follow Tara to learn about the good {and bad} that comes with being entrepreneurial. She is 100% on my must watch list for the years to come; such an amazing woman.

Stephanie – By day, Stephanie is an intern at Hootsuite — and by eve, she is taking over the world of graphic design, supporting SIFE Simon Fraser and trying to come up with a better Twitter handle. I officially met Stephanie in 2010, but she was on my life of people to get to know better when I moved to Vancouver. I love her honesty, quirkiness and dedication for continual improvement. She has no idea how much she is influencing her peers — and it’s honestly refreshing. Follow Stephanie to learn about the life of a 20-something goal-setting, food eating, mover and shaker, graphic designer.

Well there you have it — some of my favourite people of the year.

I’m friends with some, business colleagues with others and acquaintances with a few. You can be guaranteed that I stand behind each and every one of them. I privileged to have met everyone on this list and look forward to all those I will meet in the coming years.

Happy #StellarSaturday and NYE.

Jillian xo

Next Top Recruiter

I am a huge believer in everything happens for a reason.

On August 15th, while in the midst of my relocation from Calgary to Vancouver, I received an email from a colleague. One of my peers from my past employer, Shawn, had forwarded me a casting call for a HR/Recruitment Reality Show.

All he added to the email was: “Should I send your application in?”

I re-read the email to Michelle and we both started laughing. A HR reality show? For real? I think that we were both imagining Big Brother meets The Bachelor meets the Apprentice. Regardless, I was intrigued.

I sent an email off to the Producer of the show asking if “America” meant North America or the United States of the America. I assumed it was the latter, but I had nothing to lose!

On August 24th, Chris Lavoie from Top Recruiter and I finally connected. We had some sort of interview, get to know me chit chat — of which Chris dedicated a lot of time to finding out who I am as a person. What drives Jillian Walker? I went off about the usual… working in HR, changing the world, being over-involved, traveling, volunteering and working with young women. I’m positive I talked his ear off and that he was overwhelmed.

At the end of the call, he tells me that I’ve passed and that I need to do make an audition video. The only problem though? I had 24 hours to get it uploaded to Vimeo. Ay. I hung up the phone and went into action mode.

Yes, this meant I tweeted out to the masses:

It was funny that this competition hit a week after I moved away from the city I lived for the last 7 years. If I had been in Calgary when this happened, I would have had a network to help me out! Instead… Chris gave me a challenge. Not only did I need to great an audition video in 24 hours, I now needed to find someone to help film it.

I had checked out some of the videos on the competition website (www.toprecruiter.tv) and I was less than impressed. You can seriously make a great home video with a flip cam and a friend. Really, I’ve done it too many times to count. You can! I didn’t want to be one of those people who were holding a camera in front of their face looking ridiculously silly and unprofessional.

Thankfully social media came to the rescue. A few hours passed and I had a ton of local Vancouverites offering to help, BUT I also had a production company step forward and offer to produce and edit the video. Kevin Sarasom from redmuse and I talked over Facebook chat throughout the night. We talked about the requirements of the show, plus how I would add a creativity and necessary edge to my audition. We agreed to meet at the Corner of Davie + Denman the next day to do the filming.

I wasn’t at all hesitant to meet up with Kevin. What’s the worst that could happen? He would attack me with a video camera in a ridiculously busy place like English Bay? We did quick exchanges of hello and got on the move. After all, we had a 8pm EST deadline! It took us 2 hour to film a 90 second shot. Seems ridiculous. We were both considered that we wouldn’t have enough content when we went to edit, so we totally filmed 10 mins too long of content. Oopsie. At the end of the day, we had some brilliant lines and I was happy with what we created. We sat in Starbucks for the afternoon. While Kevin edited, I worked. I continually peeked over curious as to the final product.

Finally it was uploaded to the site and an email was sent off to the Producer for review. My fingers were crossed.

I heard from the show a few days later and apparently the casting crew was pleased. They uploaded my video onto their website and instructed me to gain momentum! I’ve been around the block when it comes to this sort of competition or challenge. I knew exactly what I needed to do… I needed to build a fan base.

Ta da! This is my audition video, check it out:

I have officially been branded as “The HR Rebel.” They could have used words like insane, intense, crazy, nutjob… instead they used ‘rebel’. I like it. It sounds somewhat sexy. Perhaps it’ll even help my dating life. Don’t tall, dark and handsomes like industry rebels? ;)

So is this ‘Top Employer’ all over again?

I have no doubt that you remember KPMG’s “What Makes a Top Employer?” How can you forget it? The process was pure torture — daily votes, daily harassment for just about 6 weeks. Then we waited a month for results. Then we waited 4 months for my prize. But do you remember how much momentum we created in Canada? A ton! We… not me, WE had a voice. We had an opportunity to challenge the way employers evaluated their practices and integrate a Gen Y opinion into their leadership teams.

I don’t really look at this competition as much different. Yes, the topic is different and the demographic is different. At the end of the day, this competition is about education. It will provide an opportunity for the community to learn a lot about recruiting and the HR profession (likely – the good and the bad). It will give leaders and employers fresh perspective on hiring and retaining talent. If I am included in the competition, Canada will have a voice.

So how do we make this happen?

The show has challenged me to gain momentum. I know that I am so close to making it on the show [they are making their final decision on the 5 people in late fall]. You watched my video. You know that I know all about fit. I’ve already determined that this show fits what I’m about. Now it’s in TopRecruiter.tv’s court to find out if I’m the right fit.

I would love if you watched the video ONCE. I need you to check out the website ONCE.

[I promise. Only ONCE.].

They are tricky people over at TopRecruiter.tv though. They have left a whole pile of rating systems within the audition page. So if we’re going to cover all our bases, here is what you need to do:

  1. Head over to: http://www.toprecruiter.tv/audition-meet-the-hr-rebel and if you haven’t already, watch the video.
  2. Give my audition a score between 0 and 10. Click on the star to make the rating. Seriously, give me what you think I deserve!
  3. Give my audition a thumbs up or thumbs down. Click on the icon to make the rating. [Please note, if you give me a thumbs down, you should unsubscribe from my blog]. ;)
  4. Leave a comment. It’s really not that painful, you only need to put your name and email in — there is no need to register! Please note that all comments are held for moderation by the show. No need to use offensive language or be blatantly mean. ;)
  5. While leaving a comment, check out the other comments. Under every single comment, there is an opportunity to give a score between 0 to 5, and also give a thumbs up or thumbs down rating. I have been learning a lot about myself from the comments that have been left on the page and who knows, you might learn something too!

  6. If you are on social media, I’d love a share on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. I even have share buttons right at the bottom of this post — how convenient eh? ;) For Twitter peeps, you can use the hashtag #TopRecruiter. If you’re on Google+… cool. But I’m not. So do whatever you do over there to give me some love!
  7. Now… give yourself a pat on the back for supporting a HR keener in her quest to change the world. You could also treat yourself to a latte, mani/pedi, bubble bath… whatever floats your boat. :)

The video has been on the TopRecruiter.tv site for just over a week and I haven’t really mentioned it via email or social media. I wanted to be able to share the story of how this came to be and why I want to be part of it. The video has been randomly landing in people’s laps… of which I get an email and someone says “Is that you?” “How do I vote?” “How come you haven’t said anything yet?” Today was the day to formally announce.

To everyone that has voted and supported so far, thank you, thank you, thank you. The comments that you have been leaving on the site and sending to my email warm my freakin’ heart. Can’t someone send some hate mail? All this lovely is going to go to my head!

A huge thank you to Shawn and Dawn for always looking out for me and being inspirational HR role models.

And lastly a thank you to the clients of Elevated HR for supporting the audition and also how Michelle and I do HR differently.

I have seen the momentum that we can generate. I know it exists. So let’s create it. ❤

Thirty Thousand

I tend to get anxiety over bizarre things. Like take for example how I currently have anxiety over my next tweet. My next tweet is #30,000.

THIRTY THOUSAND.

[I have written the tweet… I just haven’t pressed ‘tweet’… :)]

My iPhone twitter app tells met that I joined on February 16, 2009. That may be true but I didn’t get into the swing of things until late 2009. I had gone to a conference in Africa that November. When we were all saying our goodbyes, I kept on being asked if I was on Twitter. Sure… I have a Twitter account. Do I tweet? No. I came home — curious. Soon enough, I was tweeting… frequently. I didn’t find my place on Twitter for a long time. I used to tweet about HR, business and the Calgary community. People started following… listening… engaging. I found it BIZARRE. Why on earth are people consuming so much time on this forum? Why are people listening to ME?

A lot has happened in the last 20 months, but one thing I know is that Twitter has given me SO much love. I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am.

I continually preach about the tool to non-users. Similar to Gary Vaynerchuck’s mindset… I believe if you’re not on Twitter, you’re behind. Whether personal or business — a large amount of information is being shared and discussed every moment of the day.

I know that I am smarter because of Twitter. Truly… smarter.

I feel very up to speed on industry, media, news, technology and even the latest fashion trends. My friends have been known to say ‘you texted me about X-Y-Z before the announced it’. Twitter tells all.

I am thankful for all of the incredible people I have met.  As much as I am “anti” any sort of Twitter event, I have met a lot of amazing people. A LOT. To name a “few”: @karenjovi, @joelolandesca, @regtiangha, @socialgrrrl, @anothersupersta, @juniper_gal, @kait_dee, @tnjohan, @tremaine, @jayemkayem, @JLEED, @defcandy, @schamuhn, @c_dig, @_Mitch985, @nicolesaxton, @jeffrutledge, @harpsinyyc, @zakpashak, @haileypinto, @ebarbaric, @matthew_ball, @hrstalker, @katiamillar, @gavinroyseal, @steveshed, @terrimcbay, @missrogue, @yukarip, @urbannativegirl, @greenwooddavis, @juliaroisen, @marktownsend1, @rhiannon, @alexandrarutley, @christi_millar, @chelscore, @amandamhamilton, @ashleydasent, @jaylongshaw, @laurenfriese, @kharazny, @greghounslow, @dansgoodside, @lauravezer, @a_klingbiel, @rpenty, @heather2020, @chloe_lala, @todmaffin, @yumemusic, @judybrooks, @vlitwin, @jcarvy, @sandraoco, @shannonbosa, @katrinacf, @jearthy, @angelmok, @jeremylim, @charwong315, @glennhilton, @erinkellydotca, @lindsay_gough, @rontite, @alkarim, @guygal, @timaarak, @kattte_, @cadijordan. There are so many more. No hate if I’ve missed you — because I’ve missed a lot of you. ❤

I am thankful for the organizations/businesses that I have grown to know and become connected with because of Twitter: @westjet, @calgaryherald, @albertaventure, @talentegg, @melroseredmile, @tastecalgary, @unacalgary, @worldbierhaus, @insomniacoffee, @longviewsystems, @ywib, @fwebc, @benevity, @domogeneous, @aecocktails, @bloheartsyou, @bombaybrowbar, @noirlashlounge, @hoseannaknows, @gogirlfriend, @yyoga, @barrefitness, @theartof, @thebizmedia, @alittlemoregood, @bpwcalgary, @bootup, @socialfeedvan. And again… there are so many more. ❤

I met @marleylynng on Twitter. For those that missed the post… last year I applied to be Marley’s best friend.  We were strangers — and she accepted! [Please note I’ve been a total bad friend since January.]

I was in a Dove commercial because of Twitter. Check it out here.

I met the talented @madiganofstorms — a Calgary based photographer and brilliant creative mind because of Twitter. I was part of a wonderful book called ‘FEMME 2010’ because of Twitter.

I competed in and won KPMG’s: ‘What Makes a Top Employer‘ because of Twitter. Yes, you all voted. Every single freaking day.

I met an incredible leader, @wilsoceo, because of a HR professional who follows me on Twitter.

I met @michellelberg and work for @elevatedhr because of Twitter. Yes, I found my job on Twitter.

I continually place high potentials at my clients because of Twitter. The amount of referrals that we get from social media is ridiculous. Two recent stories: Laura Vezer and Becky Bergeron.

It all seems crazy… it truly does. I can’t imagine life without the beast that is Twitter. Yes, I’m often overwhelmed. Yes, I feel that I have to respond people. Yes, it sometimes makes my eyes roll into the back of my head.

At the end of the day, Twitter is the tool for me. I love that I can learn from others. I love that I can share my thoughts — no matter how random they are. I love that I can engage with and help others. I love that I continually meet fabulous people. I love that people from all over the world seem like they’re just next door. I like that I can connect people who share similar interests. I love that I am up to speed on the community. I love that I have access to people who are truly changing the world.

Twitter has given me opportunity — and for that I am blessed.

Happy ‘30,000 tweet’ birthday Twitter.

I am utterly impressed. xo

strangers on social media

To some degree, I’ve wrote on this topic before… social media platforms and their purpose. Seems to be all the rage as of late, so why not write on it again. :)

I’m definitely not an expert, but I feel that I have a good grasp of effective use of social media.

Social media is a powerful tool — and so many people have signed up for accounts, completely unaware of the risks involved.

Tonight I went through a stack of business cards that had been collected over the last month. I opened up my LinkedIn account and read through each card. I asked myself the following questions… Do I remember who this is? Where did I meet him/her? Are they “relevant” or did I just take the card to be polite? I tossed 19 and I added the rest. In most of the invites, I wrote a personalized note on why I was adding them.

When you add someone on LinkedIn… the platform asks if you know the contact. If you click the link, you get this:

The biggest problem with adding someone you don’t know is the second point — “Others may ask you about them and vice versa.” Dangerland.

Take the following example. Random idiot adds me on LinkedIn. He writes a sweet note about why we should be contacts. I accept. The following week, he’s at an event with people I know. Through the small world that is most cities, my contacts find out I am “friends” with the random idiot. Judgement commences. This random idiot now negatively reflects on me. And I don’t even know him… and will likely never know that this transpired.

Seem far fetched? It happens all the time.

In my opinion:

Facebook is for your personal friend circle.

Twitter is for engaging with and learning from the masses.

LinkedIn is for connecting with professionals.

By keeping Facebook to your friends (and locked down) — like actual friends — you can share your private life with minimal risk. If you have more than 100 friends, you should likely have built a limited profile within your account. This way when you feel guilted into accepting a ‘friend’, you limit the information that will be of access to them. :) If someone is posting about random things (cough Farmville cough) that have no relevance to you — delete them. If you have grown apart — delete them. If your extended family went crazy and phones your mom whenever you post about boys — delete them. If you are not actual friends with the person — delete them.

By being aware of who you follow on Twitter, you can control your feed… always ensuring information is relevant to you. Anyone can read through who you follow at any time — they 100% reflect your brand. If you decide to follow a load of 20-25 year old blonde girls with their boobs all up in their avatar or the male pornstar of the month or every single job hunting site to man — people will make judgement. The key is to be aware that people are watching. Who you follow shows your interests. Ensure they reflect you accurately. [The only time this does not apply is if you’re #TeamFollowBack. I won’t get started – entirely different argument if that’s the case].

The goal of LinkedIn is to connect with fellow professionals. It is about quality over quantity. Want to expand your network? Get out there in the community and put your feet to the pavement. Attend events, get involved in your industry, meet people. Think that you can expand your network by adding whatever stranger on LinkedIn? Technically yes, but the quality of your ‘network’ will take a nosedive.

My point is:

Adding strangers on LinkedIn does not add value.

Really. No value.

At minimum, it is an ego boost for people. “Weeee… I have a large network. Look at all the people I’m helping.” :/

Seem harsh? I see it way too often.

LinkedIn has huge perks if you use it effectively. Currently it is the most succinct way to stay in touch with people you’ve met through university, work and the community.

I challenge you to take the time to go through your networks and ask yourself why each contact is there.

Determine how each of the tools you utilize adds value to your life.

Happy Monday.

// End Rant

PS – Don’t even get me started on Google+… I have yet to join.

2010 blogging

Awhile ago I received an email from WordPress indicating 2010 blog successes and statistics. I switched from Blogspot to WordPress in early 2010, primarily for a need to measure stats, and was pleasantly surprised to get the email.

In review…

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

This blog was viewed 10,191 times in 2010. That’s absolutely crazy. I have never thought of my blog as something that people read. I write because I enjoy it. I don’t write for other people, I write for me.

 

In 2010, there were 113 new posts! There were 227 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 151mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 1st with 307 views. The most popular post that day was a voice. This post touches my heart the most and I’m proud to say it still gets about 50 views a day.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, facebook.com, hootsuite.com, Google Reader, and marleylynng.blogspot.com. Love to little Miss Marley.

 

I have been at a blogging standstill for awhile. In late 2010, I promised myself that I would launch two new websites in 2011 – one business/HR related and the other, a more formal personal blog. In January I was connected with a top notch IT guy and he outlined the steps to website success. I know exactly what needs to be done, and have a pretty good idea of how to get there. Coming home from Belize and being sick with these creatures (parasites from brushing my teeth with the water – yum!) has given me an excuse to put website design & development on the back burner.

Well no longer. Stay tuned for new site launches this Spring.

Thank you for making my 2010 amazing. With all my heart, XO.

 

what makes a top employer – part 4 (success!)

On October 29th, I received an email from KPMG indicating that I won the national “What Makes a Top Employer” video contest!!! I was on my layover in San Fransisco en route to Tokyo and heard about a minute before I was supposed to board (which as per my previous blog post – fight was delayed a few more hours).  I couldn’t have been more thrilled!  I was absolutely giddy in the SFO airport wishing that I could tell someone (I was on roaming), and unfortunately I couldn’t resist. I likely have a hefty bill from the international texts and calling.

[Disregard the spelling error in KPMG’s tweet ;)]

Representatives from KPMG were completely flexible with the fact that I was on my way to Tokyo and rather unavailable due to the conference I was attending.  We agreed to chat upon my return and finalize all the details.

KPMG recently went live with a summary of the competition:

On November 9th, TalentEgg.ca wrote an article on the competition.

—————————————————————————————————————–

If you missed seeing my original submission to KPMG’s contest, feel free to view here:

And on October 3rd, I posted an additional video to “engage” ;) the viewers.

—————————————————————————————————————–

I ended up connecting with KPMG late this week and they are currently working on the finding a date for me to connect with the 5 CEO’s.  In the near-ish future, I will have a 1 hour meeting with the following well-respected and successful CEO’s:

  • Bill Thomas, CEO of KPMG Canada, as the sponsoring company
  • Nadir Mohamed, President & CEO of Rogers Communications
  • Cameron Heaps, Co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing Company
  • Bruce Poon Tip, Founder (AKA “The Captain”) of Gap Adventures
  • Colin Moore, President of Starbucks Coffee Americas

This means a trip out to Toronto and a whole lot of opportunity!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your support during this competition.  In 30 days, WE reached 661 votes, and over 2,169 viewings.  In 30 short days, you all listened to what I had to say about the future of work.  In 30 days, I saw the power of social media, with votes, tweets (retweets), facebook posts, and online discussion.  In 30 short days, you gave me opportunity.

Thank you for your continual commitment. Ahh it gives me absolute warm fuzzies to know I have people in my court, rooting for me every ounce of the way. I absolutely have *big* plans for 2011, stay tuned for how the CEO meetings go and for the next steps with my career.

With all my heart. ❤

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