Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas - Sherlock half

Part 2 of Christmas was the gathering of the Sherlock's on Sunday. The turkey and ham were prepared on Saturday. Dolores and my sisters coordinated the remainder of the meal dishes. While we didn't have room to sit all at one table, the 27 who did eat ate well!

The turkey:

Dinner time!

Game time! I think "Catch Phrase was in high action here:

More photos of this special event can be seen on Jerry's Story. He was very pleased to have all 13 grandchildren together for this event.


Christmas - Proulx half

We do Christmas twice each year. Once with Dolores' family and once with my side of the family. This was part of the choice we made to be home for the holidays.

Christmas for the Proulx's was at Joanne's house this year. We did a "Yankee swap" gift exchange.

Before the swap started, Joanne shared a photo album she had put together from the family photo archive:

Joey (who is not yet of drinking age) initially opened a bottle of Bailey's and got excited. Alas, he didn't get to keep it.

Dad Proulx was puzzled and challenged by the tape to open his uniquely shaped choice. It turned out to be a great one to reach those hard places on the back to scratch.

Dolores opened this sweat shirt but it looks like it fits Carolyn, who will wear it first?

While not all the gifts are shown here, everyone did end up with something good. I trust your Christmas was enjoyable!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

job search notes: essential links

As I catch up to my RSS Reader after Christmas, I find plenty of goodies to share:

A great summary of LinkedIn posts from 2009 as compiled by Neal Schaffer at Windmill Networking:

A good article on resume tips that will catch the eye from the Essay Expert

Jason Jacobson writing at Networking Insight has Seven Reasons to Give Everyone a Talking Chance.

Sean Nelson continues his series on LinkedIn (and provides links to the prior entries) in this posting

Jeri Hird has an update on the job search engines with some findings that should start some conversations:

And finally, for today anyway, Tim Tyrell-Smith has 10 Buttons to Push to Restart the Job Search

What would you add to this listing?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! (video)

In the spirit of Christmas and having fun, here is a short video of the ImprovEverywhere group providing some assistance to one of the Salvation Army bell ringers.


Read more about this group and how they prepared this event here

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Steve's 2 Cents to view this video.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last minute prep

Some food shopping and last minute gift shopping all in preparation for the big day tomorrow.

We'll buy some fresh bread dough for our roll-ups which is a Christmas Eve dinner tradition. The roll-ups are like a calzone. The bread dough rolled up around (1) ham and cheddar cheese, (2) some Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, and (3) some pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.

My father will join Dolores, Carolyn and I for dinner. Allison is with Brad in New Hampshire.

Time to go for a walk to start the day.

Enjoy the family time this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bubble sort

End of this work week, end of this month, end of this year (almost) - lots of 'ends' coming together at this time.
Hence, time for bubble sorting. Looking back over each period, bubbling up the key points, consolidating/condensing the multivariant points to a theme or collection of themes, if possible.

Start with a long list.
Which of these is most like the other?
Put them into like categories.
Then take another pass through the shortened list.

Looking for the single instances to pair them up, looking for the doubles to make them triples, etc.

Soap bubbles, originally uploaded by Ernst Vikne.

As an example, some project data I am working on concerns business service category. Due to the open formating allowance, there are over 400 entries. Many of these actually are similar to one another. The first pass at combining them shorted the listing of over 400 to about 160. Further consolidation and combination has reduced the listing to approx. 60 categories. I'll socialize this listing with some co-workers for validation that it makes sense to them.

For my own period review, the socialization will come here. From the consolidation effort, a story will emerge. You can provide feedback on the story via comments or reading activity. 

What are you doing to wrap up the year?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

July 27, 2048

2048? Will we be around then?

What will the world be like then?

Hans Rosling predicts that this is the date at which the Asian market economies will over take the US and UK as dominant. View this recent TED Talk to see his presentation and understand some of the risks to the projection.

Now, what are you going to do to prepare for this day?

Monday, December 21, 2009

What she'll miss

Carolyn is coming home for Christmas and writing up the things she'll miss that she found while she was in Greece:
During my last walk around the city I was thinking about how many things here I am going to miss, and its a pretty long list. I'm going to miss the weather for one (its about 40 degrees warmer than Boston right now). But I am very much looking forward to snow and a white Christmas. I'm also going to miss the food, the feta, the chocolate, and the tavernas. The Greek lifestyle includes sitting at restaurants or cafes for hours at a time with the staff in no rush for you to leave. In fact, they encourage you to stay with live music, and rounds of wine and dessert on the house. I'm going to miss walking down the street and seeing a group of old men sitting outside relaxing and playing backgammon.
Read her full posting here

Short day, busy week

It is the shortest day of the year today. Still means you can accomplish something worthwhile today!

For me, it is the start of a short work week and busy family time. My brother and family arrived successfully yesterday. They'll spend time with Dad and my sisters in RI today before heading north to ME on Tuesday.

Carolyn comes back from Greece on Tuesday. The weather is looking good for her connections at this point.

The MBTA did a good job clearing the stairs to prepare for the commuters today. The Franklin budget doesn't cover overtime so the schools will be opening two hours late today to enable the personnel to clear the parking lots and sidewalks for the students and facility.

Accomplish something good today!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Someone with stilts walked on my deck

The snow is coming. Time to shovel.

I'll be back later with more pictures and shovel stories.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Yes, it is cold here in Franklin

We have had some good old fashioned New England cold weather the past couple of days.

The leaf was stationary for this photo but didn't stay in place long as the wind whipped it up and away. It could have beat the train to Boston yesterday!

With some precipitation coming up from the South later today, we are sure to get some snow. The real question will be what track the storm will take and how much snow will get. Hard to predict due to the fickleness of nature.

My brother and his family are scheduled to fly into Logan on Sunday so I hope the storm starts early and leaves early to allow them to have a good flight.

Stay warm today where ever you are!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Laugh to generate warmth

One way to keep warm is with laughter. Laughter comes naturally with fun. Bernie DeKoven, the Funsmith, has a collection of quotes on fun that is purely delightful:
"Ask not what fun does for you. Ask rather what you do for fun." - the Oaqui

"The more fun you have, the greater your value to yourself and to your society. The more fun you share with others, the more fun you have." - the Oaqui

"For every Way there's a way of following that Way that's fun" - the Oaqui

"The Path that is best for you is the Path that keeps the best of you in play" - the Oaqui
For more quotes from the Oaqui, click through here.

If you have a quote that could be redone to make it more fun, please send it on to Bernie.

Note: this was also posted to Franklin Matters today.

5 for Friday: from text vs. images to engagement

Text or image? The great battle.
Text is searchable. Image unless tagged is not readily so.
Put simply,the more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized—and recalled.  John Medina
Google understand images and is reported to be doing lots of work on image recognition. One simple tool they have come up with will help you visualize how users will see you website.
To help you understand how everyone sees your website, we created a tool called Browser Size in our 20% time. Browser Size is based on a sample of data from visitors to Special code collects data on the height and width of the browser for a sample of users.

With the right image and the right layout, you can present a better site for the visitor. One that they would be more likely to engage with.
51 very eclectic and informational resources from the importance of middle management to fantastic pictures of 2009 to engage you in work and the world around you:
From employees to students, engagement is important.

Do you recognize the “wow” of your students? Are we cultivating such passion? Angela shares a story of a young learner and the habits necessary to ignite such a wow in students
Telling a compelling story can bring the readers to a different place. A place they want to come back to, and hopefully will to get that feeling again.

I’d used up my savings trying to make ends meet, supplementing as best I could with the money I earned from a dangerous part-time job that gave me all of 4 hours pay a week at minimum wage. I had been looking for a better job, but there were none to be had in the low-income/high-unemployment area where I lived.
I hope you enjoy this Five for Friday roundup:

You can read the full post here for the John Medina quote
You can read the full Google posting here
You can find David Zinger's 51 engaging items here
You can find Angela Meier's presentation here
You can find the inside story about James Chartrand here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

job search notes: graphical resume

Graphical, yes.

See if you can take your information and put it into a graphical representation. This article from Fast Company shows some examples and this one shows some more.

I think the mileage on this may vary.

Would you try something like this?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

job search notes: be noteful, be grouped, be signed

Having recently celebrated a birthday, this is one of the key dates to recognize for those in your network:

Do Recognize Important Dates with People in Your Network?


Do you have a good email signature? It can be put to very good use.

Email Signatures, A Powerful Job Search Marketing Tool

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

And the angel takes her place

In the 'many hands make light work' category, the family divides the duties for preparing the house for Christmas. Dolores takes down the ones from Thanksgiving and sets out the Christmas decorations. I take care of setting up the tree.

I string the lights on it and then do a single light in the front windows. The girls usually alternate turns in putting the angel on the top. Allison was out to a movie with her cousin and Carolyn was in Greece so I had to place the angel then string the lights from that plug. Now the tree will be ready for the remainder of the decorations.

The girls join in decorating the tree. This year, Allison will have the lead with Carolyn providing some advice via Skype from Greece.


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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Awareness becomes more important

Google implemented a couple of changes recently that I think will make awareness, being fully attentive to what is going on and what you see all that more important.

The first thing they did was a simple usability point. On the Google home page,, they have simplified the display. All you get initially is the search input in the center of the page. The top navigation menu used by those with Google accounts doesnt appear until you move your mouse up in that area. The Google blog post on this has screen shots of the before and after.

The second thing they did was to implement personalized search as the default for all. This could create some interesting situations. Two people go to the Google page to search on the same term and conceptually would obtain different results. Unless they are aware that these settings can be changed, some time at least would be spent discussing how they got different results. I appreciate the personalization to prepare the results based upon my history and apparent preferences but...

More on the personalized search can be found here

Be aware of what you see. It may not be all that you should see!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The naked tree

First step to decorate the tree is to put it up:

Tonight, the lights will get hung on the tree. Allison is stopping home this weekend to decorate it. Her sister Carolyn will participate via remote connection from Greece.

Home for the holidays

My entry for the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog monthly theme is posted today.

You have my permission, indeed encouragement to click on over to read and comment.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cyber safety around the holidays

I read this recently from Moira Cronin, the cybermom on the McAfee Security Insights blog:
It’s important to be a little more cautious while surfing the net for that perfect pressie for your loved ones this Christmas. So in the spirit of the season, I’d like to share with you some tips to avoid the most popular scams at Christmas time – I’ve taken these from McAfee’s twelve scams of Christmas report.

and since I just advertised the Fidelity venture for FutureStage which sends out e-cards, this caught my eye.
Scam 3:  The dangers of holiday e-cards
We all want to be more environmentally aware and proactive, so the idea of sending a festive e-card is appealing, however beware.  Last year McAfee Labs discovered a worm masked as a Hallmark e-card and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola holiday promotions.  Holiday themed PowerPoint e-mail attachments are also popular among cybercriminals, so be careful what you click on.

Read the full posting from Moira Cronin here.

It is good practice to be careful what and where you click everyday and more especially around the holidays.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

job search notes: 3 must read links to share

From Sean Nelson writing at Social Media Sonar:
Your LinkedIn Connection Strategy will impact how you use LinkedIn and in the end your chances of finding success. Here we look at the 4 strategies: The Lion, The Turtle, The HoundDog, and The Alley Cat. What are you?

This is my last post for the Blogoff 2 contest.  You can help by reading the blog and posting a comment on the blog.  Read full post:
From Tim Tyrell-Smith writing at Spin Strategy:
One of the early and most interesting discussions on the LinkedIn group was about the use of a photo on LinkedIn and what that photo said about you.  Now, I will tell you that I have always had a photo there.  Because I think it is a vital way to introduce yourself to the business world.  And to remind people (you worked with ten years ago) who you are . . .
So I tried to think about some reasons why, in this modern age, people would leave a photo off of their profile.  Are you saying any of these things?
If you absolutely don't want a picture but would like a complete profile, you have this option to consider: Sabra Davis uses a white JPG file as her photo.

From Chad Levitt writing at New Sales Economy:

I find it sad that so many good people are without jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. I have heard many stories about the hardships that many people and families are going through. I truly hope that the unemployment situation becomes better and those that are struggling find their way.

But, hope is not enough — you need to do more then ever before in this job market to find a job or keep your job. This is the reality of our new world good bad or indifferent.

Here are 9 action items that you can take to defend yourself from the lost jobs decade and go on the attack with your personal brand:
Continue reading to find the 9 here.

Have you found any good stuff to share?

Seven cardinal rules for the practice of risk communication

(as first expressed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several of the field's founders)
  • Accept and involve the public as a legitimate partner
  • Plan carefully and evaluate your efforts
  • Listen to the public's specific concerns
  • Be honest, frank, and open
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other credible sources
  • Meet the needs of the media
  • Speak clearly and with compassion
From the Wikipedia entry on Risk Management where the source is cited as: Seven Cardinal Rules of Risk Communication. Pamphlet drafted by Vincent T. Covello and Frederick H. Allen. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, April 1988, OPA-87-020.

These are good rules for communication, period.
These would be the actions of a trust agent.

job search notes: DOL tools challenge

From the US Dept of Labor website:
Attention online job boards, career exploration sites, and all other providers of on-line job search and career advancement tools: The Department of Labor challenges you to showcase your best products by submitting your tools to today!

Finding a job in today's economy is hard work. The Employment and Training Administration wants to make sure job seekers have the best possible job search resources at their fingertips through the national network of One Stop Career Centers. As a complement to the full range of services available through One Stops, on-line tools are an important resource for job seekers as they research career options, identify available jobs, and find the best fit for their skills and experience.
In a fast-changing marketplace, it is difficult for the nation's almost 3,000 One Stop Career Centers and the over 20 million job seekers they serve to keep up with state of the art on-line job search and career advancement tools. Therefore, DOL challenges enterprising entrepreneurs and organizations to showcase their on-line solutions, and allow workforce system decision-makers and job seekers to explore, comment on, and recommend tools.

The Challenge will help the workforce investment system uncover the most effective on-line tools. At the conclusion of the Challenge, ETA will publicize the leading tools, in order to more quickly connect job seekers with job openings.
It is good to see the government getting into this kind of "crowd sourcing". They are gathering a listing now and will begin an evaluation January 4th with recommendations due in February 2010.

There are already 171 site submitted (as of my visit 12/8/09). You can view the listing by category here

Which job search tool have you found successful? Is it listed?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

job search notes: Barn raising

I received this flyer in my Inbox from the local Chamber of Commerce. I won't be able to go because of my own work commitment but I am interested in the concept.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

More about the event can be found on their website here

If any one does go, please fill me in on what you thought about the day!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Photo essay

As we went to bed Saturday night, the snow had begun and came down enough to cover the deck surfaces:

Yes  that is real fluffy snow here in Franklin  MA

From the same window on Sunday morning, the deck looked like this:

Decked with snow daylight view

On the other side of the deck, the dogwood was "blooming snow":

Dogwood blooming with snow this morning

As I got out to the driveway, the view up the street showed the sun peeking through the trees:

hi ho  hi ho  off to shovel I go. just under 2 inches on driveway

By the time I got to the end of the driveway (not long, it was a little over 1.5 inches of snow) the scene with the blue shovel against the black mailbox set in the white snow looked like this:

Blue shovel  black mailbox  white snow


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Bend and stretch to recycle

With apologies to your Romper Room memories, I rewrote a few lines to help remember to recyle while you walk.

Bend and stretch
reach for the can
while exercising
help your fellow man

One can (or plastic bottle) at a time, you can come back from a three mile walk through your neighborhood with something like this:

Recycle exercise

Bend and stretch
reach for the can
while exercising
help your fellow man

You can take this challenge in two ways:

1 - Take a plastic bag along with you and remember these lines when you walk.

2 - As you walk, if you come up with better lines let us know via comment or email.

Blogging milestone

I had started posting on Steve's 2 Cents in September 2005 and only started posting on Franklin Matters in November of 2007. This week the number of posts on Franklin Matters (FM) surpassed the number of posts on Steve's 2 Cents (S2C). I had realized this day would come as the volume on Franklin Matters has been averaging more per day (particularly with the meeting live blogging) than the 1-2 posts I was doing on S2C. Two different blogs with mostly separate audiences and different purposes.

At the current publication rate, FM will likely reach 3,000 posts in January and S2C in February or March.

Franklin Matters can be found here ->

Pet Peeve

If you would like me to properly and effectively register your product, please make it simple and easy for me to do so.

Especially where there is software and versions and models involved, you should have an auto-detect for your own product so I don't need to select one and avoid selecting the wrong one.

The screen shot is from a Logitech registration page. They happen to be the current and handy item to slect for this pet peeve but most other vendors out there do the same thing.

This one in particular get me. The language selection indicates a drop down and there is only one choice (English). Some one was lazy and prepared for the future when they provide other choices I suppose.

Friday, December 04, 2009

job search notes: Chelmsford Networking Opportunity

For those in Eastern MA, this may be of interest to help with your networking and sharing the skills you have:


I facilitate the presentations for the Technical Skills Share Group. Use the following link to find out a little more about the group;

The purpose of this message is to request presenters. In January we will have presentations at 4 to 6 pm every Wednesday. The time slot of 1:30 to 3:30 pm is also available but currently being used for our Resume project. The presentations are done free of charge to our attendees.

We are working with <> , and have an agreement that we can publish event details (FREE) of our technical presentations on the website. This is a good opportunity for presenters to get more visibility.

If any of our presenters want to avail of this facility they will need to send me a brief bio plus a few words about the presentation and it will be published.

Where: Chelmsford Public Library, McCarthy Meeting Room

Past topics have been;
C++, Six Sigma, LinkedIn, Subversion, UML, Cloud Computing, PMP certification, Java, JavaFX, Netbeans, Database Design, VOIP

If you would like to present a topic to our group then please send me a brief description and your requirements. Please remember that we can not pay you for your presentation.

Jim Drewniak

Help Fidelity Contribute to Music Education

This is a good opportunity to share music and contribute to a good cause. Better yet, you don't actually have to spend a penny. Fidelity Investments will do the contribution for you.

For every card sent, Fidelity Investments will donate another $1 to buy musical instruments for public school students.

After all, what would the holidays be without music?

Click through to Future Stage to send the e-card and have Fidelity make their contribution!

Note: I was a long time employee of Fidelity Investments. I am currently working on a contract for Fidelity through Veritude but this posting is completely separate from those activities. I am a life long supporter of music and education.

BTW - Fidelity is now on Twitter -

Deja Brew - bottling night

Our current batch of 6 kettles was bottled on Thursday night. The labels for reference are as follows:

Deja Fest - Our newest O fest, nice and malty - DF
McTartan’s Scotch Ale - McEwan’s Clone – Amber & slightly sweet, some smoke - M, with Irish whiskey MW
Dean Park Pilsner - ACBBD – A smooth, refreshing light Pilsner - D
Llevar Porter - If you like Ravell , you’ll love this one. Vanilla accents - with Vanilla bean and Jim Beam - L
Hearty Christmas Ale - A hearty Ale, spicy, flavorful and inviting - C, with Pumpkin liquor - P
Queen Bee Lager - One honey of a lager. Smooth and easy, very light - Q

5 cases cleaned and ready for filling - Deja Brew bottling night

The brew crew update. Here is the listing of the 65 kettles and 48 unique beers we have brewed over the past couple of years.

Beer Total kettles
Hearty Christmas Ale 3
Killer Honey Ale 3
Llevar Porter 3
Stunner 3
Bavarian Pilsner 2
Gnarly Barley Wine 2
Goibniu 2
Honey Summer Ale 2
Light Irish Stout 2
Lobster Claw 2
McTartan’s Scotch Ale 2
Off Kilter Scotch 2
Oktoberfest Beir 2
Beaver Back Pale 1
Blueberry Ale 1
Castle Brown Ale 1
Chocolate Cream Stout 1
Crazed & Confused 1
Dave's Red 1
Dean Park Pilsner 1
Deja Fest 1
Double Scotch Ale 1
Downtown Brown 1
Drunken Monk Ale 1
Dunrovin Stout 1
Forest Fire Red 1
Greg’s Big Head Stout 1
Helles Lager 1
Jeff Beck Lager 1
Klawtobier 1
Lawnmower Lager 1
Old Man Winter Ale 1
Piper Scottish Ale 1
Queen Bee Lager 1
Ray's Bock 1
Red Head Ale 1
Red Rider Ale 1
Rocket Bock 1
Rusty Anchor Lager 1
Rye Blond 1
Sam’s Damn Yummy 1
Scotch Amber 1
Special Delivery Ale 1
The Rock 1
Thoroughbred Red 1
Tim’s Dim Wit Bier 1
Top Drop Dopplebock 1
Wachusett Pale 1
Grand Total 65

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Section 508 Tutorial

If you are doing web pages and want to ensure accessibility this tutorial is a great place to start.

... Section 508 does not directly apply to private sector web sites or to public sites which are not U.S. Federal agency sites. In fact it doesn't even apply to the Congress or to the Judiciary. It also does not (generally) apply to agencies or establishments using Federal funds. So if it does not apply to all these institutions, what's the purpose? Those who crafted the law noted that the combined purchasing power of Federal agencies is tremendous. They believed that if the Federal agencies required accessible IT, then companies would respond by (1) offering accessible IT to the government and (2) rather than have two sets of products, they would offer accessible IT for everybody. At IBM in the late 90's, for example, the decision was to build accessibility into the entire development process - company wide. It just didn't make sense to have two sets of products.

But there is more to the 508 story. Section 508 provides accessibility standards for all information technology. Our focus here is web accessibility. But 508 covers all information technology and it is the only standard that does so. Computer software, hardware, and documentation are all covered by Section 508. When states wanted to require accessible information technology, they turned to the Section 508 Accessibility Standards to define "accessibility". Check out the ITTATC web site for a survey of state requirements for accessibility, most of which refer to Section 508.
For more on this topic, check out the tutorial here

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Steve Sherlock is Social Media: and So Can You

What follows is a guest post from Steve Sherlock's birthday mate, Phil Gerbyshak
Social media is a big part of my life. I spend about 20 hours a week online, writing and reading blogs, on Twitter and Facebook, and cultivating my network on LinkedIn. I also teach people to successfully use social media to grow their personal brand, and take their business to the next level. After 5 years doing this, I've come to realize one thing:

Steve Sherlock is Social Media, and So Can You!

I met Steve Sherlock a few years back. We started out as blogging buddies, sharing a space on a the Synergy Weblog, 100 Bloggers, and eventually, as part of the Ho'ohana Community at Joyful Jubilant Learning. We learned and shared the way of the geese from the wonderful book Gung Ho! If you're not familiar with the story, part of the story has geese honking each other on to achievement. Honk Honk! It's what Steve, and I, and the rest of the community did, and continue to do; we've helped each other find our way in the world.

Steve Sherlock is Social Media, and So Can You!

But it didn't stop there. Steve and I spent time taking the blog off the blog with phone calls, Skype conversations, and then taking advantage of travel opportunities to connect in real life. I've stayed at Steve's home in Franklin, Massachusetts, and we always get on like old friends. Sometimes Steve and his family would come near Milwaukee, and he'd always look me up, so we could reconnect and get to know each other a little more.

Steve Sherlock is Social Media, and So Can You!

I think most importantly, Steve has taught me about the power of asking questions to learn more about people, to pay attention to happy coincidences (like our shared birthday) and
sharing what you know by adding value where you can.

Steve Sherlock is Social Media, and So Can You!

It's really not that hard to be like Steve, or like me, whether it's your birthday today or not. Here's how you can be social media:

1) Seek out and show up in places where other smart people hang out - I spent time on the blogs Steve and I eventually connected at long before I ever left a comment or was part of the community. The folks there (Troy Worman, Rosa Say, Trevor Gay and Steve, to name the 4 most prominent folks) shared what they knew in real time. It wasn't perfect, but it was authentic and it was refreshing. There are now MILLIONS of blogs. Find a few with smart people and get to know the writer and the commenters. Make it your home. Get deep on just a few places and really add value to the community.

2) Take it off the blog and Twitter - Always make time to connect off the blog. Tweeting a link to your favorite bloggers post is nice. Spending time with them at a conferences is even better. Pick up the phone and call someone new. Chris Johnson is GREAT at this! He makes time to call people every single day. You can do it too!

3) Pay attention - Steve and I noticed that we shared a birthday. I noticed it was Stephen Smith's birthday yesterday. The more attention you pay to someone, the easier it is to get to know them, and the better you can help them. Social media has a LOT of ways to pay attention, so pick a few and use what you learn to better connect with others in your life.

Steve Sherlock is Social Media, and So Can You!

Happy birthday Steve! Thanks for sharing your space, your readers, and more importantly, your life, with me!

And to all the folks reading this post, thanks for sharing your attention with me! It means a lot to me, and I know you have a million other things you could be doing. The fact you took a few minutes of your time to share with me means a lot to me.

What are your best ways of BEING social media? Share your tips in the comments, and let's get to know each other a bit more.

Honk Honk!

Phil Gerbyshak is a professional speaker and social media coach based in Milwaukee, WI. He shares a birthday and a passion for lifelong learning with Steve Sherlock. If you'd like to connect with him, your best bet is to follow him on Twitter and send him a Tweet.