Why its great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

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I bleed red and black. Born and raised a Bulldog fan, my heart leaped after the win over LSU last night. The Bulldogs had another great win in Samford Stadium. The 96,000 fans were louder than ever in their ‘Red Out’, a red wave that spread over the entire stadium. Fans traveled from all over the south to see their boys in silver britches play between the hedges.

I will always remember my first Georgia game. My grandfather took me when I was 7 years old. We left early Saturday morning dawning our Georgia apparel with fried chicken in tow. I will never forget my first time watching the Dawgs score and the crowd going wild. It was a feeling that I’ll never be able to have again.  There is something magical about Georgia Football.  There is something that feels like home.  Growing up in the South,  Football is more like a religion than a sport.  Football is something that unites people just as powerfully as it might divide.  Every time I enter the stadium it is like being on hallowed ground.

Saturdays in the Fall are my favorite time of the year. Athens, Georgia comes to life. Tailgaters arrive around 8 a.m. to drink, socialize and eat to prepare for the upcoming spectacle ahead. Fans walking to the stadium can be heard from miles away as fans yell the anthem “What’s that coming down the track?” Once in the stadium, the Red Coats can be found on the field spelling “G-E-O-R-G-I-A”. The Battle Hymn Trumpet soloist then plays the long held tradition in the Southwest corner of the stadium and chill bumps run down the spines of Dawg fans. As the words of Larry Munson fill the stadium, the fans go silent. Then the two simple words which express the sentiments of the entire bulldog nation are yelled in unison: Go Dawgs. The Red Coats continue into ‘Glory, Glory to ole Georgia’ and the Bulldogs race onto the field .

This is an experience that I long for each year and treasure each and every time. The long held traditions are held sacred by the Bulldog nation and adored. This is why Mark Richt said it best himself after winning at LSU last night, “No one does it better than a Georgia!”

Selective Listening

Listening seems to be something that is getting harder for the world everyday. As a newly married women, I finally understand what women mean when they say men only hear what they want to hear. Yesterday morning, I asked Eric, my husband, to take out the trash. That afternoon I walked into the kitchen and realized the trash had still not been taken out. When I asked him why he hadn’t done it yet, he replied, “What?!? I never heard you ask me that.” I replied, “How did you not hear me? I was sitting right beside you.” And then I finally understood the concept ‘Selective Listening’.

Many times when we blog or post something on a social media site as a nonprofit organization, we use ‘Selective listening’ as well. We only hear what we want to hear. Yet the concept of listening is very important to blogging and social media.  Listening to the world is key to blogging and a successful marketing plan. It is so easy to only hear what we or our organization has to say and not listen to the rest of the world but it is important to listen everywhere. Kivi Miller writes in ROI of Listening: 17 Things to Do with What You Hear that listening everywhere can result in your community thriving, your organization prospering, your individual programs growing, and your own personal career soaring. But once we listen everywhere, what do we do with what we hear? Kivi mentions 17 different things but the ones I found most important are:

1. Knock down your writers block.

2. Find your niche.

3. Pick up a reality check.

4. Be relevant.

5. Start conversations with potential new supporters.

Being relevant may be hard for nonprofits since things can get so busy its easy to forget what is going in the rest of the world. Staying away from selective listening can keep a nonprofit connected the world around it. Selective listening isn’t easy. It is something that takes practice but it will pay off in the end.

#meaningfulcommunication

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have changed the world. Or at least my mine and everyone else’s I know. We now have access to almost every part of someone’s life. We can find out where they went to school, where they work, what they ate for dinner last night or even how they want to decorate their house– all without even saying a single word to them. We have entered a time where we have the capability to get to know a person without them even knowing we exist. The easiest way to get to know someone is to look at their social media pages. This begs the question: what is communication? Is communication simply ‘liking’ someone’s status on Facebook? Are we actually talking to anyone when we ‘tweet’?

These are only a few of the questions that experts are asking about the change social media is having on communication. Social Media Today noted in a very interesting article called The Effects of Social Media on Communication  that we have even changed the way we communicate such as using LOL in conversations and being more concise when we talk because of Twitter’s text limit. In my opinion, social media has made me able to connect with a lot more people however at the expense of it being in much less meaningful ways.  I am much quicker to comment on someone’s page on their birthday instead of giving them a call. Social media is changing every part of our lives. How has social media changed communication for you?

Finding a lost love

Today I left my internship at the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services in a daze. I had been in a networking event all morning and then rushed to a meeting that lasted most of the afternoon. My brain had taken in all it was able to. As I left I decided I was in desperate need for some ‘self-care’. Before my marriage and move to Gwinnett county about 6 months ago that would have meant one of two things: yoga or trail running. Since I am in school and my husband is working, we are broke so joining a yoga studio hasn’t been an option. I have been running at Tribble Mill, a nearby park, but running on a paved path isn’t quite the same as trail running. I had seen some people coming off a trail once at Tribble Mill and decided today that I would give the trail a shot and try running it. It turned out to be one of the best ideas I’ve had in a while!

Trail running is different because you can escape the rest of the world and feel like you’re one with nature.  When I trail run, I find my inner jungle woman with my barefoot shoes and the wind in my hair.  My husband would say I am more like some kind of futuristic cyber jungle woman with my heart rate monitor and my barefoot shoes which are shoes designed to make me feel like I am barefoot without actually requiring me to be so.  Trail running is the only thing that keeps me sane after a long day of social-working. Take a peek into my run:

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What is your favorite type of self care?

Tis the season.

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The leaves and temperature are finally falling which means only one thing: fall is arriving. The first day of fall is less than a week away and my heart is aflutter! Fall means many things to me and there are countless reasons why I love it! Here are a few:

1) Pumpkin. Pumpkin coffee. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin candles. Little babies in pumpkin outfits. Pumpkin carving. Pumpkin beer. All things pumpkin.

2) Scarves. Who doesn’t love a colorful scarf to snazz up any outfit?

3) Colorful leaves. There is nothing more beautiful than driving through the mountains during fall and seeing the most magnificent colors.

4) Fire. Lighting up the fireplace and cuddling with my husband.

5) Thanksgiving. A holiday completely dedicated to giving thanks for all the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

Fall is a magical time of the year for me. These are only a few reasons why I love fall. Do you share the same obsession with me over this time of the year? If so, share a reason you love fall!

Answer the Call

Everyone loves a story. Thats why we go to the movies or read books. Life is made up of stories. Some are good, some are not so good. But what makes a story good? The Nonprofit Technology Network suggests a variation of the same formula one would use in any other form of story telling: intro, struggle, moment of change, etc.  What seems more specific to this type of story telling (the one told by a nonprofit professional in the social media role of writing a blog) is the “call to action.”  While no writer, director, or any other story teller will ever say that it is NOT important to them that people be inspired by their work, it is not as important to them as just making a good story.  The call to action in the case of the nonprofit becomes more important than the story itself – the story is the means to the end and not the end in itself.  The call to action challenges the reader to connect with the story so that the reader can in fact connect with the non profit.  This is an example of one non-profit who really knows how to use the call to action.  A successful manifestation of the call to action is when the reader is inspired to do something tangible like volunteer or donate money.

 

Technology… a social connector or isolator?

This weekend I spent time with a good friend and her three little boys; 8, 6 and 4. These boys are extremely rowdy and the last time I saw them about 2 months ago, they could not sit still. Since then, their father bought them all a new toy: tablets. The  majority of the time they were awake they spent playing on their tablets. Only during dinner, when their mom made them put down their tablets, were they playing and talking with the grown-ups. Are these kids going to miss out on the world because of their technology?

I Forgot my Phone, made by Charlene deGuzman, is a true interpretation of what our technology driven society has come to. Many would argue that our constant ability to have the world at our finger tips through our smart phones or tablets truly connects us to the rest of the world. But to what expense are we able to do this? Are we, as a result, isolating ourselves from actually experiencing the world the around us?