Social Media to BLeeve In

24 Jul
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary (this weekend!) of the engagement of me and my wife and the 20-year anniversary of Acronym.com (or, at least, Acronym, the marketing agency), I feel compelled to engage my loyal followers and always lovely visitors.
Hope you social media types find the following helpful in your pursuit of a happy medium:
  • Engage, don’t sell. The latter is what sales & advertising are for.
  • News posts are great “filler” to keep your feed flowing and also a chance to take an issue forward with an expert add-on comment.
  • Give Credit! This shows you’re selfless, and it’s a great way to gain new followers and get your posts shared.
  • Activate your posts with hash tags so more people can find your content.
  • Gregariousness: It’s called social media after all. Folks will think of you more if you’re active & accessible.
  • Events: a never-miss opportunity to show you’re present, engaged and adding to the dialogue and thought leadership.
Just remember: when you share, you show you care, but don’t dare overshare!
Social engagement with a nice ring to it: We celebrated in the surf on July 25, 2005, after she said yes.

Social engagement with a nice ring to it: We celebrated in the surf on July 25, 2005, after she said yes.

Yes to Nostalgia

30 Jun
Pardon our progress and my nostalgia: our house expansion project proceeds amidst small reminders of our family’s original loving location.

Pardon our progress and my nostalgia: our house expansion project proceeds amidst small reminders of our family’s original loving location.

As not only Independence Day, but also a fun-packed family reunion approaches, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Actually, there is no bit part for me when it comes to that feeling.

And, apparently, it’s going around: my father’s cousin and the de facto family historian posted on Facebook that June 29th marked two family wedding anniversaries (including hers), two birthdays (including her second grandchild’s 21st) and the date of a dear uncle’s passing (just 30 minutes before the aforementioned grandkid’s arrival).

“After a decade of study, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be — it’s looking a lot better,” reported the New York Times.

From anti-regret platitudes to Don Henley’s summertime hit, we’re taught or told to always face forward and seize the day. Did you know that nostalgia was even considered a disorder for a long while after the term was coined in the 17th century? (A Swiss physician sought to connect soldiers’ mental and physical ailments to their wistful wishes to return home — in Greek, nostos for home plus algos for pain).

Nostalgia does have that tugging-at-the-heartstrings component. It’s seemingly unavoidable for me. In the last month, I’ve rediscovered a 25-year-old typed motivational letter from my high school football coach that alternated between scripture and Shakespeare, heard my brother’s best friend growing up tearfully eulogize his father, basked in the afterglow of my 2-year-old giving me a hug and saying “thank you, Da-Da” after I told her I loved her during our family’s favorite beach walk in North Carolina and revisited the beautiful campus chapel where my wife and I got married.

In many ways, nostalgia can seem almost unfair though. Even the good memories are tinged with sadness because we realize we can’t go back. But, according to multiple studies, the positive effects of nostalgia abound — to the nth degree!?! — from counteracting loneliness, boredom and anxiety and literally making people feel warmer to even providing existential and evolutionary advantages.

“Experience it as a prized possession,” Dr. Constantine Sedikides at the University of Southampton told the Times. “When Humphrey Bogart says, ‘We’ll always have Paris,’ that’s nostalgia for you. We have it, and nobody can take it away from us. It’s our diamond.”

STATS OF THE WEEK: Sky High Fi-nancials

29 May

Even when things don’t quite add up, they still really add up:

  • America’s three biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — collected more than $1.1 billion in overdraft fees in the first quarter of the year.
  • Unilever CEO Paul Polman told the Washington Post that the total salary bill of his 175,000-person company, which counts Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Hellmann’s and Lipton among its 400 brands, is less than the bonuses just paid out to the financial industry in London.
  • The, um, generous, albeit a bit one-sided, Koch Brothers plan to dump a mere $900 million on the 2016 presidential election.

Reminders

30 Apr cross

A couple of times I realized in the presence of my neighbor that I was wearing the bank logo-ed ball cap he graciously gave me before the bank fired him. There’s a family ski video that now serves as an embarrassing reminder of a college-era New Orleans trip that, well, didn’t go quite as planned. For years, the 14th tee box at our home golf course featured a dimple-marked cooler from when my uncle unfortunately hit a different type of water ball.

Of course, not all is humorous or ironic. There are the deeper, painful reminders like the emotional scars of a tragedy forever linked to the holiday season. I think of a wonderful Florida man who must pass the house of his deceased younger brother each time he enters or leaves the family farm…

Since November, my sister’s hair stylist has been murdered, my cousin’s family friend has passed away at the age of 39, his sister-in-law’s mother has succumbed to a very rare and fast-acting form of cancer, our preacher’s son has been diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer, and, most recently, the brother of my best grad school friend lost his battle with depression and other personal problems.

Sometimes I’m amazed that folks can even get out of bed in the morning.

Question: How much of our thankfulness is based on the blessings in front of us versus the knowledge of our deliverance from past trials and tribulations? If you look to the greatest symbol in the world, the pleasure and pain, the up and down, the yin and yang are inseparable.

An unattributed quote I found: “Gratitude is a constant attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for life as it unfolds. Living in the moment, we are open to the abundance around us and within us. We express appreciation freely. We contemplate the richness of our life. In life’s trials, we seek to understand, to accept, to learn.”

I’m thankful for family, the innocence and wonder in my daughters’ eyes, those friends and even strangers who offer hope in a smile or tender touch, and especially for God’s ultimate reminder, there front and center at church.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Andrew Ethridge, who passed away 12 days after this post.]

 

March Madness & Musings

28 Mar

What’s left of major college and pro sports after all the over-hype, greed, corruption and other misplaced priorities? In a recent family discussion the thought came up about who can go the longest without setting foot inside the two Atlanta sports venues that will open in a couple of years.

Our world is driven by innovation. Isn’t it way past time some things, um, evolved? (I’m lookin’ at you, umbrellas and ski boots.)

Which is your favorite type of driver — the classic intersection blocker, the one who tries to pass you on the interstate on-ramp or that person who decides to stop in the middle of traffic and wait to move across multiple lanes rather than miss his or her turn? Commuting downtown for the first time has exposed me all too much to these maniacal or moronic motorists…

My father likes to belittle social media, but this content guy is almost totally convinced that radio is worthless, with very few exceptions such as NPR and this fine fellow. I can almost feel America getting dumber anytime I mistakenly listen to a DJ spout some inane conversational filler…

I try my best to keep hope in my heart. I also keep a letter in my car in which my pastor informs the church that his twenty-something son has Stage IV brain cancer…

Take out Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney  and the brilliant Zac Brown Band and would “Nashville,” the show, easily top Nashville, the music city/industry?

So I see that people are still sharing photos of their food… but not so much their food. My neighbor posted a pic of a once-frozen burrito he was about to eat. And a classmate recently felt the need to add a fishy Facebook photo captioned with “Almond-crusted NC trout in smoked olive oil. Take that, @bonefishgrill!”

Finally, I find folks who don’t ask questions highly questionable. How ’bout you?

Pitch Perfect? A PR Test

28 Feb

My first successful (non-press release) media hit on the PR job started as a top 10 list pitch and resulted in a “7 Reasons Why” piece. So let’s call it a 70 percent conversion rate, right?

Below is the pitch and here is the media coverage end result.

No. 18 at The Oconee course at Reynolds Plantation

No. 18 at The Oconee course at Reynolds Plantation

==================================

Top 10 Reasons Why Reynolds Plantation

Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

==================================

  1. It was good enough for The Ritz-Carlton and Jack Nicklaus golf.
  1. It’s pleasantly free of the gnats, alligators and traffic of your usual seaside destinations.
  1. Lake Oconee is Georgia’s second largest lake.
  1. It’s the only resort in Georgia with a Peter Burwash International tennis center and The Kingdom by Taylor Made golf instruction and club-fitting facility.
  1. It’s the only resort in the world with three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Angel Sims on its health & wellness staff.
  1. Wanna see “King Kong’s Shed”? It’s here (and also known as the dry dock at Reynolds Plantation Marina).
  1. It’s good enough for head-coaching homeowners Bruce Aryans of the Arizona Cardinals, Miss. State’s Dan Mullen and U. of Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez.
  1. The numbers are in your favor: 19,000 acres of lake, 21+ miles of walking trails, a dozen restaurants, 6 golf courses, 4 marinas and now one Certified Master Chef (of only 68 total in the country).
  1. Reynolds Plantation has a knack for hosting: See the Lake Oconee Food & Wine Festival, the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge, the 10th annual Linger Longer Invitational, the Golf Channel’s Big Break Invitational and more. Did I mention the Ritz-Carlton Lodge?
  1. It’s only 80 miles from Atlanta.

Atlanta’s Moving Performance in 2014 Solidifies Economic Path

31 Jan
Ponce City Market  (courtesy of Silverman CPM)

Ponce City Market   (Image credit: Silverman CPM)

Atlanta is on fire again! This time it’s a march to see and be a part of the city’s impressive growth in business and development. For five years running Atlanta has claimed the top spot on Penske’s list of top U.S. moving destinations. The robust influx of educated workers speaks to the tremendous opportunity found in the Capital of the South. The mild weather, favorable cost of living and many attractions definitely sweeten the appeal.

“You can see Atlanta’s ascension in the metro’s continued population growth, the city’s startup business boom and its very strong development wave, which includes vibrant mixed-use developments such as Emory Point across from the CDC and the recent addition of major cultural attractions like the National Center for Civil & Human Rights and the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Dan Graveline, 33-year director of the Georgia World Congress Center.

The civil rights museum and hall of fame debuted in downtown Atlanta last summer. In case you missed it, The New York Times included downtown as one of the 52 places to go in 2014 – and one of only eight U.S. cities on its list. Atlanta even has two stadium projects ongoing for the Falcons and Braves that combined will generate approximately 10,000 jobs.

Although the Peach State’s unemployment rate has lagged of late, that hasn’t stopped Site Selection magazine from declaring Georgia No. 1 for the second consecutive year in its ranking of best state business climates. According to CBRE Inc.’s mid-2014 analysis of office rents and wage costs in major U.S. metros, Atlanta offers the most value for employers, coming in at 25, 31 and 38 percent more cost effective than our nation’s capital, New York and San Francisco, respectively. PulteGroup moved its headquarters from Michigan to Atlanta last summer, WorldPay and Prince Global Sports have similar moves in the works, and Mercedes-Benz recently declared that it will roll the automaker’s U.S. base of operations into town this summer.

Georgia State University’s Economic Forecasting Center projected that Atlanta will add almost 175,000 jobs from 2014 through 2016. CBRE reported that Atlanta experienced employment growth in the technology sector of nearly 11 percent between 2011 and 2013. Ponce City Market, the nation’s largest historic tax preservation project, has attracted leading tech firms such as MailChimp, athenahealth, Cardlytics, HowStuffWorks and now Twitter.

So when do mixed results mean major market momentum? That’d be here and now. Mixed-use behemoths Avalon, Buckhead Atlanta and Jamestown‘s 2.1 million-square-foot Ponce City Market will open from September 2014 into this year, infusing character and enthusing consumers from the northern suburbs to the Old Fourth Ward. Crescent Communities President Brian Leary told Globe St. that the three “extremely unique” developments, which total around 1.17 million sq. ft. of retail space, might make Atlanta a “national anomaly.”

As the saying goes, retail follows rooftops. In November, Fannie Mae reported that consumer confidence in housing, which, historically, contributes 17 to 18 percent of GDP, hit an “all-time high.”

“Atlanta is showing signs of returning to its prior form of leading the country in population and household growth,” Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com’s chief economist, told CNN Money.

Emory Point (Photo Credit: Cooper Carry)

Emory Point   (Photo Credit: Cooper Carry)

The metro area is expected to see a 6 percent increase in home-owning households in the next 5 years, and, according to MPF Research, the metro’s apartment sector achieved a post-recession record occupancy rate and a two-decade high annual rent increase in third quarter 2014.

“Nationwide demographic momentum, especially in the prime Millennial renting segment, finds especially fertile ground in Atlanta where dynamic industries, top-notch universities, a unique culture and reasonable cost of living all come together,” said Cris Sullivan, executive vice president of Gables Residential, which continues to see high rents and waiting lists at the expanding Emory Point.

Like ordering The General Muir Burger or Ecco’s fried goat cheese balls, there is so much flavor and excitement in our city right now. People making places (and movies), places attracting people and all making a big difference. Now if only the Braves and Falcons would get on board the winning wave!

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