“Whatcha doin’?”

For the past few months I’ve been building a repository of social media articles and thoughts and quotes over on my tumblr blog, “Over Coffee”. I’ve learned lots of new ways to process and think about what I’m doing professionally and what I’m helping others with on a more personal level. But I’ve also been trying to watch for ways to do just a bit more than Tumblr, up to now, has been able to allow.

Enter the second level of “Over Coffee” – I’ve moved the posts from Tumblr to Blogger and I’m happy with the new space there. I was able to redirect my RickCaffeinated.com domain to the new site, so whatever branding and name I’m building can continue on. And we’re sitting on a weekend with some extra downtime so I can play with the site, add some pages from the old site, and get it looking hospitable and friendly for anyone happening by.

This blog will continue to be a journal of what’s going on, life stuff, coffee musings – all the usual. But for the first time since starting, my blogging feels right going in two different but still complementary directions. This site will be more personal with some of the ways my professional growth might affect my growth in various areas. And the other more professionally-directed website will have some writing on how personal life impacts over there as well. It’s still a great deal of back and forth, but I look forward to having “the other side of the coin” on the web.

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Wheelhouse

Quick disjointed post with a few things going through my mind lately:

  • Politics – Jon Stewart called us “South Carolina, the Whoopie Cushion of the Nation”, and I don’t think there is anything we can do about it. People don’t pay attention outside their own narrow perspectives. Something that should be about the best for the community is instead about the best for those who believe the same things the same way I do. That’s sad. Unfortunately, it’s also funny.
  • iPhone – June 24.
  • Passion – When I see someone who’s got a passion for what they’re doing, it’s contagious. When people work hard and enjoy what they’re doing, there’s something palpable in the air. I’m finding that it’s something you can’t manufacture, something you can’t fake. But when it’s there, you know it. And everyone around knows it, too. Now, if you know anyone like that – what are you going to do in response?

The Associated Press has unveiled 42 new style guidelines for social media in the 2010 edition of its Stylebook, most notably re-classifying “website” as one word (it had previously suggested “Web site”).

AP Stylebook Releases 42 New Guidelines For Social Media – I’m still just tickled pink that “website” is finally just one word.

SOCIALMEDIA ME

I’ve started a new online endeavor that I’m hoping will not be too much overkill for those of you who don’t care, and will be a useful place for help and information for those who do.

RICKCAFFEINATED.COM

I set up the Tumblr.com blog to point to a new domain, and my intention is that this new space on the web will be a repository for all the stuff I’ve been willy-nilly tossing around the past few months. Tumblr is free, the webspace was cheap enough from GoDaddy, and we’re all set to… well, to just try something new.

I’ve had inquiries from a handful of folks into social media/marketing kinds of things. So this new site is an attempt to gather those links, quotes and stories into one space while still posting the updates to Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully add value on anyone’s clickthrough by sharing why I think this or that is important in the first place. Online social interaction can be a scary place full of TMI, but it can also be a rewarding experience personally and a beneficial one publicly and professionally as well.

Anyway, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask, comment, suggest or whatever. I hope the new digs will be good for us, and I’ll take all the help I can get.

got tools?

It’s Friday morning and we had a problem first thing with the Internet connection from the wifi router. Enter Daddy Man, able to (mostly) save the day. But as I was tweaking and unplugging, plugging and untweaking, my right lens popped out of my glasses.

“Oh no, I shot my eye out.” – Ralphie

I looked and there it was on my ample tummy. My glasses were otherwise intact, screws and all. Overtime the right lens screw had parted ways with its friend Mr. Frame far enough to drop Mrs. Lens … well, you get the picture.

My Dad says you can do anything if you’ve got the right tools. I’ll add being able to find those tools and then know how to use them. It’s the same for doctors, lawyers, loggers, DJs, chefs, cowboys, baristas (some of my heroes have always been baristas) – have tools, find tools, use tools.

I went to the kitchen for a butter knife to screw in the tiny tiny screw. Too big. My finger nail was the right size, but the finger it’s attached to is way too large for this task. Then I remembered that I have, can find, and know how to use the previously forgotten optical screwdriver in my handy dandy backpack.

Tool found. Tool used. Glasses intact. Tool put back in backpack for the next time I’m an idiot with a screwdriving kitchen knife.

the payoff

When I left my job of nineteen-plus years last August, I knew what I was getting into – and at the same time I had no clue. I had spent those years in various forms programming for the financial/output side of the insurance industry. More recently, I had been able to do some technical writing in requirement gathering and project planning. I’d traveled to some really cool places – Philadelphia/Lititz, PA; Seattle/Enumclaw, WA; San Juan/Humacao, PR; Staunton, VA; Tampa/Treasure Island, FL; SFO/San Mateo, CA. Over the years, I met with good people also trying to do their jobs the best they could for their own customer bases. I liked that we were doing our best for them to then do their best for their constituents. I liked that I could work meetings into paragraphs, and I enjoyed the back and forth to “get it right” in putting to paper what the client wanted and how we were going to deliver.

Writing first, programming second – some C++ with a mostly text-based script system. We did some good things, and I liked my job. There wasn’t a reason to leave, except that I had had an itch to find something new. Nothing had really panned out, so I had re-settled into my groove and was ready to stay for the long haul. But then there was an opportunity to start something exciting and new… The Love Boat… soon will be making another run…

I stopped Job #1 of my adult life on Friday, and started Job #2 of my adult life on Monday. I was hired to work on social media initiatives, with a touch of graphic design and programming on the side. That was in August. We’ve been planning and working and replanning and reworking things since then, on multiple fronts, multiple platforms, multiple configurations. It was a huge change for my mindset – honestly, the stress level dropped more than anything. I didn’t know how stressed I must have been but today, I have actual fingernails. I don’t chew them off anymore – that’s been a pretty big realization on my part. I’m on a new team that’s once again fun, professional and trying to do good things for customers. That makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

So what happened last week? We opened the world to a new website design – I had one small part, helping with some of the “search” capabilities, while everyone else poured themselves into what was happening. It’s a major step forward, and folks worked with a real determination to do what’s right, make it easy for the customer, and to build something they could be proud of and management would be happy about. Internally the kudos were there – people from around the company loved it. When the rollout came there were some issues that became the week’s priorities and were quickly sifted out. It was good for me as a newcomer to see the team work as a team and celebrate as a team. It’s a good tech shop, with great people and big dreams.

So what happened to me last week? The new web design shows more prominently than before that we are involved in social media. For the first time in our process, we were getting major play on our Facebook page, on Twitter – even gained a YouTube subscriber or two. A few folks commented on their enjoyment of the new site. We gained visitors, we saw web analytics from the social media links, and we interacted with folks “in the wild” about real things that mattered to them. For me, it meant the things we were doing were going to pay off, that ideas we were having and challenges we were working out had come to a point beyond conjecture and were now really happening in our system.

There’s a scene at the end of The Incredibles where the neighbor kid sees the explosion of Syndrome and the family being saved inside Violet’s forcefield. His jaw drops, he stares at Mr. Incredible, and finally exclaims, “THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED!” – that was me last week. I was so happy one evening, I tried to explain it all to my 12-year-old. I don’t think she was necessarily impressed, but I do hope some of that excitement from doing something you love rubs off on her so she won’t settle for a career path that’s anything less. I enjoy what I do, still putting in home/offsite time to make myself better, to find better ways to do things, to try to look at things differently and stay up with the growth in these areas. The past week or so has reinforced the decision to move on, to make a change, to move out and try new things in new ways.

I highly recommend…

breakfast, etc.

This morning was fun. A few of us were able to get together for breakfast at Lizard’s Thicket (fish & grits – don’t knock it ’til you try it), just hanging out over coffee and a meal. One of the things that is neat is that after so much time, not really being or staying that close over the years, it’s still a group of people you enjoyed being around enjoying being around each other again.

IMG_1970

I had some other funny “I should totally blog that” lines in my head while I was driving home from the get-together, but they completely escape me as I sit to type. So I’ll just thank everyone for coming, let those who couldn’t make it know they were missed. I think we drank enough coffee for everyone.

It’s been a good week. I’m enjoying the new job, and looking forward to using newly discovered social media tricks in making a worthwhile contribution. I had a good time of just catching up and encouragement with Bobby Thursday evening, and our dinner out with Bruce and Debbie at Punjabi Daba was spicy good, too. I’m hitting a groove, or at least hope so, where I feel productive, feel like I’m making a difference and leaving a mark. And that’s a good thing, because with the economy the way it is, there seems to be enough negative backflow going on out there already. Having a something positive to say about life, the universe and everything is a definite plus.

I even look forward to Monday.

I mean, after a good long weekend full of friends, good food, and a few football games. Still have to have priorities, right?