What’s your Comment

This post is going to be a bit odd but humor me, ok? I want your comments.

That’s it basically. My goal is to get at least 100 comments from readers about anything that comes to mind in this post. Bloggers love to get comments and I am no exception. I have only been blogging a short time and I haven’t really amassed any kind of real following yet so I don’t really receive too many comments. I was looking through my twitter timeline this morning and came across a blog that I didn’t think was all that great, yet there were 60 plus comments. So, I thought, I can get that many comments or more. Just set a goal and go for it.

You can comment on anything you’d like. It could be the weather or it could be the great food you ate last night. Just keep it clean please. After I have collected 100 comments I will post a new blog to discuss how long it took, what variety of comments I received, and highlight any that are especially intriguing.

For inspiration, if you need it, please consider the following:

  • How hot is it where you live?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • Any thoughts on the economy?
  • What do you do first thing in the morning?
  • What kind of work do you excel at?
  • What would you rather be doing right now?
  • What did you do on your vacation?
  • What inspires you?
  • True or False?
  • Google Plus thoughts.
  • Dog or cat lover?
  • Life
  • Ipad2
  • iphone5
  • Who cares?
  • 10 great ideas.
  • Your favorite blogger and why.

Ready, set, go!

3 Totally Amazing Photographers you Should Follow on Google Plus

Google Plus now has over 20 million users and is growing at a phenomenal rate. There are so many different genres on the site already that it can be difficult to decide who to follow. Although I am not a professional photographer, I thoroughly enjoy getting lost in visually stunning photos, and Google Plus has become a visual sensory experience on steroids for me. I am currently following over 100 photographers but there are three that I am especially fond of and would like to highlight in this post.

First, however, let me give you a brief peek at what a Google Plus post looks like and discuss with you why it has so much potential as a visual social media platform.

One thing that I noticed immediately upon registering with the site was how the visual experience on Google Plus was something that I have not seen on any other Social Media Platform. Even something as simple as posting a link to a blog has a visual component to it. Another key factor to the experience is that you get immediate feedback on things you share on the site via comments or a plus one. The pluses and comments reside with the post for life just like a blog.

Posting goes to a whole new level and pops off the page when pictures are added. It’s a dream platform for marketers and advertisers and great for anyone in the arts because you can very easily display your work and get an immediate response or critique from fans and fellow artists. One more great feature is the ability to add a short (or long) caption to your post.

Photographers have taken note and there are many that have joined in and are posting some of their best work on the site. The quality and quantity of work that streams live every day on my timeline is something that I have not ever seen before. Here are three artists I have encountered (when you see their work you will know that they are truly artists). I hope you enjoy their work as much as I have and will take time to get to know them better.

Elena Kalis specializes in underwater photos. I randomly started following different photographers and was blown away when I saw Elena’s work pop up in my stream. I was immediately intrigued and I dug little deeper to learn more about her. I discovered She was born in Moscow Russia, currently lives in the Bahamas, and became an internet celebrity when her Alice in Wonderland series went viral. Elena’s inspiration (the ocean) as stated on the website http://bentrovatoblog.com/ is no surprise:

 -The ocean. It’s vast and multifaceted. One day it is bright, sunny and fun. Yet there is another side which is darkness, unconsciousness, death. I can never get tired from it and it is my main daily dose of inspiration.

She goes on to explain that the the idea for Alice in Wonderland came from her favorite book of all time and she decided to use her daughter in the starring role. Take a look at the photos I’ve included below and tell me you are not in awe. If you just can’t get enough check her out on Google Plus or click here for a very large selection of her photos.

Photo

Elena Kalis

elena kalis ben trovato13 Photography by Elena Kalis

elena kalis ben trovato4 Photography by Elena Kalis

elena kalis ben trovato8 Photography by Elena Kalis

elena kalis ben trovato3 Photography by Elena Kalis

Another very intriguing photographer I came across on Google+ is Robert Larson. I was immediately touched by his “Waiting for Haiti” series where he documents life and death from the perspective of a street photographer in the country of Haiti one year after a devastating earthquake destroyed the island. Robert Larson currently lives in Los Angeles, CA but enjoys traveling throughout the world and gives a unique street smart perspective when documenting his encounters on a digital canvas. The following quote is where Robert draws much of his inspiration.

“I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting.”

— Harry Callahan

To learn more about Robert you can find him on Google Plus or click here for some of his best work. By the way he is looking for funding for his next trip to Haiti so if you know anyone who would like to sponsor him I’m sure he would be thrilled to hear from you.

Robert Larson

Last, but certainly not least, you will want to follow Trey Ratcliff for some absolutely stunning photos. I first heard about Trey on the “Tech Guy Radio Show” by Leo Laporte. While I had heard about his “Stuck in Customs” website on the show I (and I always thought it was such an unusual name) I never took the time to visit the site. I’m not sure how I encountered him on Google Plus but I am sure glad I did. Trey is probably one the most well known photographer/ bloggers on the internet. His HDR photos are breathtaking and his blog keeps fans coming back for outstanding tips, a very unique point of view, and his always quirky take on life. You can find Trey’s Google Plus site here and his Stuck in Customs site here. If you want to try to understand what inspires Trey click here.

Trey Ratcliff

Google Plus has given me the opportunity to get to know many photographers that I would have never known otherwise. One thing that sets this platform apart from all of the others is its ability to integrate an intense visual experience into every post. Another is your ability to engage directly with the artists and get to know them better.

If you are into art or photography and you browse with Google Chrome be sure to add this extension for Google Plus. It enlarges the photos when you hover over them in G+ and really takes your experience to a whole new level.

Be sure to follow me on Google Plus and I will engage with you and share many more visually stunning photos from other photographers I have encountered  as well as keep you updated on the latest trends, blogs, and really cool stuff I have up my sleeve.

Hangout with Mark Hoppus from Blink 182

From a Google + Hangout
Hangout

–  Public

  –  Comment  –  Share   –  Reply to Author
For those of you who don’t know, Mark Hoppus is bass guitarist and one of the lead vocalist for Blink 182. He is also a member of Google+ and just had a short hangout that was public, open to any fan who happened to notice and was quick enough to join in. He only hung out for a few minutes and I didn’t have a chance to join in but I am really glad that he did this.
Hangouts are an awesome feature on Google + and one that I hope more celebrities and Social Media A-listers will take advantage of.  Actually I challenge you A-listers and Celebs to use Google + as a way to interact with the fans who support you and helped you achieve the status you have today.
Let me count the ways you can do this on Google+
1. Once a week or every two weeks, randomly have a hangout that is open to everyone for 10- 20 minutes. You can talk about your latest project, open up the hangout for Q an A, or structure it however best suits you.
2. Randomly post comments in one of your followers G+ stream. I see hundreds of comments posted into your streams why not return the favor and post a comment into one of their streams?
3. Create a post where you will offer something to the first 10 commenters. Maybe you could set up a hangout with them or send them a copy of your book or a personal email. You could do the same but randomly select 5 or 10 people who have commented on a post.
4. You could select people that comment on a regular basis and create a post giving them a shout out.  Think of the followers they would gain just because you took a moment to recognize them. Heck you could even add them to one of your circles.
I am sure there a lot of creative ideas you superstars could come up with to pay it forward to your fans. Google + is the platform  to make it happen. Who will take me up on this challenge?
p.s. Look who else I just caught hanging out:
Bradley Horowitz  –  12:33 PM (edited 12:35 PM)  –

Hangout

–  Public

Bradley Horowitz is hanging out with 5 people right now!

Join this hangout

5 reasons to participate in twitter chats

1. Find a cure for cancer

2. End world hunger

3. Resolve the budget deficit

4. End terrorism

5. Stop climate change

Ok I may be a stretching it a bit, but think of the possibilities if the right people were involved.

While none of the chats that I have been involved in have taken on such meaty subjects, I must say they are a fascinating to be a part of and I always take away something of value when I join in. My personal favorites are #LeadershipChat, #Tweetdiner, #Blogchat, and #GetRealChat. For a comprehensive list of chats and their scheduled days and times click here.

What I think is the greatest advantage to participating in a twitter chat is you get immediate feedback. Unlike putting a tweet out there that goes into a black hole never to be heard about or retweeted again (unless perhaps your name is Guy Kawasaki or Chris Pirillo) you get immediate feedback and a whole lot of RT love too.

In every twitter chat that I’ve participated in there is a real sense of community. A lot of the tweeters are regulars and it is great to see a familiar face pop up in your twitter stream. This morning when I opened up my Google+ account I saw the image below pop up twice. I am shamelessly stealing it and adding it here because I think it is a great representation of the community vibe that I have encountered in all of the twitter chats I have jumped into. Note: since I “stealt it” I feel obliged to give shout out to the originators so please click here to learn more about Edelman Digital

Last night in the tweetdiner one of the main topics of discussion was Google+ and the impact it would have on twitter. Ok we didn’t save the enviroment but it was a lot of fun and it was great to hear a variety of viewpoints from everyday twitter users. The opinions ranged from “twitter may be in serious trouble” to “it’s not likely to have much impact at all.”  Many of us thought that Facebook will feel a lot of heat and all SM needs to have their guard up because Google+ is packing heat.

So what can you expect to get out of twitter chats?

1. Make real twitter connections – I have personally made many connections that I communicate with on a regular basis. They are always responsive when I have questions or just need some feedback on something I am pondering. I think sometimes we forget that one of the main objectives of twitter or any other social media platform is to interact with others and when you hook up with a twitter chat you get it in spades.

2. Get immediate feedback on your questions – The twitter chat environment is fast and furious, however, if you have a question while everyone is enthralled in conversation, ask, be patient and don’t be afraid to ask again multiple times until you get an answer. You will get a response from somebody in the group and you can connect with them later to go into more detail if you wish.

3. Give advice to others and gain followers– If you are someone with expertise on a subject it is a great place to get the word out. Most people enter into a chat to not only socialize but to learn from others as well. If you have useful advice that you have been dying to tell anyone that will listen, a twitter chat is the place for you. If you have something to offer that others find useful, you will surely gain more followers which could ultimately lead to more business if that is your ultimate goal.

4. Get some great ideas – Believe it or not I received great advice for making fried chicken from #Leadershipchat.  The topic of dinner came up during the chat and I mentioned that I made fried chicken for the first time and it didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d hoped. After the meeting was over one of the participants tweeted me with some tips and we ended up tweeting back and forth for at least 15 minutes. It was the first time I had ever engaged with this person and now I feel as if I could fry up some mean chicken thanks to the great advice I received.

5. Meet a few people with influence – Guy Kawasaki was a guest on one of the recent #Leadership chats and he and I actually tweeted a bit after the meeting was over. It made my day because I never thought in a million years I would have the opportunity to do so. You know what? He’s a regular guy and he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us.

Here is a link to the list of tweet chats one last time. Go forth and find one that sounds interesting and jump in. Who knows you just may meet one of your idols or you may be the spark in a revolution that changes the world.  Why not?

Oh and when I go to tweetdiner I like to bring gifts. Look what I brought last night: http://www.scoop.it/t/dessert-buffet

You can find me on twitter @fiercliving

How can you get on the Apple Cart?

A great big shout out to Mashable for creating the infographic seen above. Please click on the link and check out all of the great info they have on their site.

I woke up this morning to news that Apple has shattered all kinds of records in 3rd quarter earnings. My first thought was what are they doing right that we all can learn from considering today’s struggling economy? Sure Apple has had some missteps but so would any company that is growing at the rate they are. Two of their more recent issues were:

1. AntennaGate – When the iphone 4 was released the hype was off the charts until reports came out that people were having their calls dropped at a higher rate than expected. It became clear almost immediately that there was a problem with the internal antenna that was impacted by the way the phone was held in your hand. Apples fix was to provide free cases that seemed to alleviate the problem.  There was an apparent software issue that affected the 5 bar signal at times as well which was fixed by a software upgrade.

2. MobileMe – When MobileMe was first rolled out there were problems with the system crashing and configuration issues. MobileMe is being phased out with the new iCloud feature.

I have also come across several other complaints as I was researching on line including burning Ipod Nano’s, cracked laptop cases, gaps in the Ipad2, and functional problems with Mac computers and laptops. It seems like most of these are low rate of occurrence defects but it’s hard to tell without looking at Apples quality records.  My overall impression is that Apple quality is still very good and customer service, especially in the Apple Stores, is excellent ( all you Apple Haters can chime in and let me know why you disagree).

As Apples profits are surging and stock prices that seem to go nowhere but up, there are two Apple products that are getting a lot of buzz this morning. The new MacBook Air and OSX Lion are all over the internet. Most of the reviews for both are positive and will undoubtedly lead to even more sales.

The market in China is making a huge contribution to Apple sales as their products are considered a status symbol for the Chinese people. Apple is obviously doing something right and I say go Steve.

My question is why don’t more businesses benchmark the things that Apple is doing right and apply what fits into their business model to add to their bottom line in these hard times? I’m sure there are a million excuses, but you only need one reason to go for it and make it work.

One place to start is with Apple’s Business Philosophy:

There is an extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team, and these executives lead over 35,000 employees that I would call “all wicked smart”. And that’s in all areas of the company, from engineering to marketing to operations and sales and all the rest. And the values of our company are extremely well entrenched.

We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that’s not changing. We’re constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think, regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.

For customer service experience the Apple Stores seem to hit it out of the park every time. Yes, there are usually long lines at the Genius Bar and there are certainly things they can do to make that experience better.  The last time I went into the store and had a few questions the employees were always more than happy to assist me. I also found the new Ipads that were installed recently to help customers get information were useful and being used by many customers. There have been times when I’ve only gone in the store to validate a parking ticket and I can’t tell you how pleasant the experience is. How many times have you gone to an Apple Store and it’s the busiest store in the mall or surrounding area? Much can be learned about customer service by visiting a store and paying attention to what they do right.

In today’s economy there are no excuses for poor products and bad service. Take a look at Apple or any other company that is thriving currently and ask yourself what are they doing that I can use and make my organization better? Hint: Simplicity and Customer Service are great starting points. Instead of upsetting the Apple Cart leap on board and go for a ride.

Check out this link for more useful tips: 

LA Carmaggedon

This weekend has been dubbed Carmaggedon weekend in Los Angeles.  The 405 freeway has been shut down between the 101 and the 10 to retrofit the Mullholand Street Bridge and make modifications which will allow the freeway to be widened. It’s Saturday morning and so far the expected gridlock has not materialized. The hype has worked and everyone either left town or are staying home.

In honor of the city of Los Angeles, which seems to be in constant state of freeway gridlock, I assembled some of my favorite things about LA. What I love most, is that contrary to popular belief, there is an abundance of culture in LA, the food selection is immense, and did I mention the weather. By the way I’m hanging close to home this weekend.

http://www.scoop.it/t/my-favorite-places-in-la/

What do you love or hate about LA?

It’s More Visual = Google Plus Resources

As I was going through my never ending twitter timeline I saw the following tweet and had to take a look:

GlenGilmore Glen Gilmore, Esq.
19 Essential Google+ Resources –on.mash.to/q1Sbw3 rt @mashsocialmedia
I’ve been playing around with my new toy Scoopit.com and thought I could take this post to the next level and give it a visual pop.
Have you started using Google+?