The “Social Media Social”

Robert Saunders, Skylark NetWorks

Robert Saunders, Skylark NetWorks

This past August 16, I ‘participated’ in a social media seminar: Supersize Your Business with Social Media Tools. I emphasize ‘participated’ because that is the essence of social media: Being a part of it. By social media I refer to, as if you didn’t already know, Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Twitter, Wikipedia (yes, Wikipedia, click the Discussion tab on any wiki topic, and you’ll see).  The list of sites goes on and on.

My goal, since I was invited to be a co-presenter by Sandra McCarty, was to see to it that every aspect of the ‘seminar’ was social. I wanted to establish a rapport with Sandra, with our raconteur, David Gussin of, and most importantly, I wanted the audience to be involved, to participate.

And that made all the difference.

The seminar, which was supposed to be about 20-30 minutes in length, ran a full 90 minutes.

A pessimist might say, “Oh, no! Too long!” But that was not the case. The audience was very involved from the 2nd or 3rd slide onward. Questions were asked by anyone, and they were answered by anyone. Information passed to and from each and every point in Retro Lounge& Grill’s dining and reception room.

The tipping point was Twitter. Everyone had something to ask, or an answer to pass on. That moment would have made a fantastic tweet-up. Personally and professionally I find Twitter to be very compelling, just when I think I have a handle on Twitter, it morphs, it shifts, it grows, it evolves. No other social media outlet matched it. Every site had a wonderful share of questions, and new insights were gained by all. Myself included.

It was an amazing experience, and everyone was aware of it. And everyone present is looking forward to a follow-up presentation.

 Thank Yous. I would like to thank Sandra McCarty for the opportunity to c0-present. Thanks to David Gussin of &, he is the “The Natural” of Social Media. (That’s a Robert Redford baseball movie reference, get it at RedBox or on Netflix please). To Retro Lounge & Grill for hosting. A round of applause to Yvonne Bisk of Long Island Entrepreneurs, David Gussin, Sherri Gillespie of MRG Marketing, Hannah Park-Lusterman, Eileen Lichtenstein  of  Balance and Power, Gail Adams of 7th in Heaven Singles Events and Dr. Bruce Kesten of Kesten Family Chiropractic for helping  to promote. And a tremendous thank you to the audience for truly bringing life to the show. Bravo!


Best of LI – Is This A Popularity Contest?

The Best Of Long Island

It time to vote for the best in Long Island. This is the sixth year of the Long Island Press’ Best of L.I. poll, and it’s also by far the biggest. It is expected that more than 300,000 Long Islanders will vote. Participation in this high-profile awards program is  extremely high, as it is felt that this competition highlights the very BEST that Long Island has to offer.

What is the Best of LI? – It’s a competition that is organized by Long Island Press and allows residents of Long Island to vote for which business is their favorite in over 215 categories.

The first step was establishing a comprehensive nomination process, so that any company that does business on LI had an opportunity to be in the running. This nomination process was open to everyone, for two months, from July through August. The winners of our 2010 poll were automatically nominated again, so that they could defend their titles.

The top 15-18 nominees (20 in the Best Restaurant Category) advanced to the voters round. Voting began on October 1, 2010 and will end on December 15, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Important to Note

Any person with access to a computer, laptop or cell phone and has an email address may vote one time per day,  per category per computer device or Email Address. Only 75 votes per Email address will count towards the final vote total of each category.

The winners – On December 16, 2010 the votes will be tabulated and the top three local business, organizations or individuals will win First, Second, and Third Place. The definition of local is if the entity ownership or franchisee resides on Long Island.

Is this a real competition or a popularity contest? – But are people really voting for their favorite  business or are they been courted, lobbied and even badgered to vote? It is felt by some this is really a popularity contest and those businesses that have the most aggressive marketing campaigns will win. Long Island Press actively supports nominees’ soliciting votes using social networks like Facebook as well as the various advertising packages and tools they offer each nominee. Some even believe that this competition is merely another revenue earner for LI Press.

So what do you think, is Best of LI a true competition or just another popularity contest?


Long Island Citizens for Community Values Launches Annual Fundraiser

Long Island Citizens for Community Values (LICCV) hosted a garden party last Saturday to launch their annual fundraiser, the Bloomingdale’s  Benefit Shopping Day at Backyard Master’s Patio Showroom in Farmingdale New York. It was a Victorian theme and the ladies all looked fabulous in beautiful colors, hats, gloves and pearls. Backyard Masters was the perfect backdrop for a garden party, providing just the right ambiance with  beautiful pools, spas,  gazebos, fountains with flowing water and tropical plants.

Ladies looking fabulous at the garden party

A number of  persons were honored for their contribution to LICCV: Gary Melius owner of Oheka castle, the French-style chateau and the second-largest private residence ever built in the USA.

Executive Director of LICCV Bobby Lloyd and wife Dianne, presented honoring award to Gary Melius, owner of Oheka castle

Dean and Sherry Salvani, owners of Backyard Masters, the patio experts that offer an assortment of American-made, high quality, pools, and the Long Island Teen Challenge Ladies Home.

Executive Director of LICCV Bobby Lloyd and wife Dianne presented honoring award to Dean & Sherry Salvani, owners of Backyard Masters

The LICCV is an alliance of concerned citizens with businesses, religious and health care organizations to protect children, families and the community from the harmful effects of pornography and sexualized culture. The Department of Justice found that one in three females and one in seven males will be sexually molested by age 18.

The Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography recent report of July 2010, found that  ‘pornography is often used by pedophiles to softens children’s defenses against sexual exploitation. They are shown nude pictures of adults, for example, and told, “See, this is what mommies and daddies do.” They are then stripped of innocence and subjected to brutalities that will be remembered for a lifetime’

To donate your time and other resources to the Long Island Citizens for Community Values, call 631-608-3778 or email Dianne Lloyd at


The Audience Conference -2010

It was with excitement mixed with trepidation that I got on the 7:28 am Long Island Rail Road train in Freeport headed for the Big Apple. I was off  to the Audience Conference at Carolines on Broadway, NYC – having a business conference at  a comedy club, that’s different I thought- hopefully this would augur well for the event.

It was my first foray at one of these things and I did not know anyone who would be there. A few days before I had ‘friended’ Heather from beautiful BC (British Columbia) on Facebook and sent her a message, when I heard she would be at the conference. I must confess I looked forward to seeing Heather, at least she would be a little familiar.  Soon I was walking down Broadway towards Carolines and noticed a group of excited people at Carolines door. “Good”, I thought to myself, ” the energy is high, this is going to be pretty interesting”

I had about 20 minutes to enjoy the beautifully decor of Carolines’  lobby and the delightful continental breakfast, before it was time for us to find a comfortable place to sit and absorb what we hope to be insights in audience engagement from the heavy weights in this industry. Heather from Beautiful BC identified me in the crowd. It was easy, she said, since my message on Facebook to her said to look for the black girl in pink top. It was such a beautiful feeling to see, finally, a familiar face.

Animated, high energy crowd at The Audience Conference 2010

The likes of Chris Brogan President of New Marketing Labs and Marketing Affiliate Guru, Dan Patterson Digital Platform Manager for ABC, C.C. Chapman Media Maven, Photographer and Digital Dad,  Chris Pearson the Founder and Architect of  Thesis, a WordPress design and Jason Calacanis entreprenuer and CEO of Mahalo.

They did not disappoint and I left the conference the better for attending. Here are some of my take aways:

Dan  Patterson –  Always seek to be better at our craft. Do not fall for the hoopla and be trapped into thinking that it is your talents that is drawing the crowd, when it is really the tools of the trade. Take the time to honestly evaluate your game, your writing and always try to improve.

Chris Brogan - President of New Marketing Labs & Veteran Blogger

Chris Brogan – Be passionate and authentic and your audience will find you. It takes many long hours to perfect the craft of writing,  so put in the hours and you will be sure to reap the rewards.

Brian Alvey – There is an abundance of tools but an absence of craft. We all have the same tools at out disposal but what sets us apart from the pack is our abilities, our writing skills, our passion and drive. How well we apply ourselves to becoming an expert, a super star at what we do will help us attract an audience and keep that audience.

Chris Pearson - Creator of Thesis a WordPress Theme

Chris Pearson– The audience exist as a reaction to a catalyst and that catalyst is us, the writer,  the blogger. However, we  have to be remarkable and exceptional in order to draw the crowd. If we do not allow our mental filters from keeping us locked into those behavioral patterns that stop us in our tracks, we can be both exceptional and remarkable.  Allow nothing , no one, social norms, fears or even ourselves to hold us back. If we go for stretch goals and we will be sure to inspire those whose lives we touch.

C. C. Chapman – In order for an audience to find us we must be passionate and human in our writings.  A passionate writer will always attract interested readers.

Loren Feldman interviewing Jason Calacanis (in black tee-shirt)

Jason Calacanis – Quality, quality, quality – always write quality posts which are well researched, with proper grammar, are easy to read and of  interest to your audience. Re-read  your post many times, sleep on it and email it to your inner circle to get feedback before posting.

Next post will be on audience engagement insights from Comedians like Harrison Greenbaum, Heather Gold and Rachel Feinstein.


Business Networking – How To Work A Room

Go Prepared
Research the event on the web and get a sense of the attendees. Research the people you want to meet and use that information to break the ice with them.

Travel Light
Wear a comfortable suit and make sure you can reach your cards without fumbling.

Walk The Walk
Walk into the room confidently and smile meeting the eyes of those persons you are interacting with.

Who’s Who
Circle the room so you can get an idea of who is there, then focus on a few carefully chosen ones working through your list of priority.

Spot Lone Wolves
If the room is crowded look for people who are standing alone. It is harder to integrate into a group of strangers and individual contact is best. One-to-one makes for the most effective networking since you can focus more giving all your attention to that person.

Make Meaningful Connection
Ask others about themselves so you can connect to their interests and lives. Do not start off with your 30 second commercial about yourself, be genuinely interested in who you are talking with. Be an active listener, listen without interupting, comment or ask questions when it is appropriate. Remember you have to pass the test as a personable human being first before people will want to do business with you.

Card Exchange
Ask for a business card instead of offering yours, it is less presumptuous.

Get An Introduction If Possible
An introduction is like an implicit endorsement and the next time you meet that person there will be that association and context.

Give And Take
Always try to be helpful. Help others to make connections and share helpful information. When you help others they want to help you in return.

Remember you might not close a deal but you might get the right to follow-up with a call or meeting which could lead to a very meaningful business relationship. Even one contact like that makes an evening of networking worthwhile.