Author: Bonnie Harris

By Alisa Gilbert In today's digital world, truth and rumors travel at lightning speed. People around the globe can potentially learn of some breaking news via social media networks much quicker than the traditional media outlets meant to deliver that same breaking news. This can be a great boon for business owners and entrepreneurs, especially if their product or services go viral; however, it can also lead to a 'flash-in-the-pan' effect that can spell disaster for certain companies that fail to manage their brand online, especially if the cause of that flash is not an exciting product-launch, but instead is a much-maligned advertisement or appalling man-made disaster. Perhaps the greatest recent example of poor brand management during a flash-in-the-pan crisis is how BP reacted immediately following the Gulf of Mexico disaster. And by immediately, I mean sluggishly. As Jeff Rutherford and others in the blogosphere have pointed out, it took BP seven days to respond to the crisis on Twitter. In that time, an anonymous joker established a fake Twitter account in BP's name. You simply have to compare the two Twitter pages to understand how greatly this affected BP's brand. The fake account had double the followers as the legitimate BP account. Yikes! What can you do to avoid losing the branding battle over social networks? Surely you're not playing in such a high-stakes game as BP, but at the very least you can still put in place some strategies that BP should have done. Learn from their mistakes; don't repeat them. Here's how:

Three weeks into the New Year, and I know that the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions has been beaten into the ground. So forgive me, because it’s time to look at making those commitments one more time, but this time with your blog. If you set realistic goals for your blog in 2011, you will accomplish them, which is more than can likely be set for your other new resolutions (gym, eating, time off the computer...need I say more?) So what should those blog goals be?

By Beth Graddon-Hodgson [caption id="attachment_2645" align="alignright" width="240" caption="not Beth's husband"]salesman[/caption] Most businesses use blogging as a marketing tool, and that’s the way it should be; but people are uncertain exactly what that means. Do you use traditional rules of marketing when you’re writing your blog posts? Write for a target audience? Try to sell a product? Include a call to action?  Well, those are more questions than I can answer here, and I’ve answered many of them before. But to summarize, yes to be an effective marketing tool you do have to think as you would when writing marketing copy (identify your target audience, make statements that are appealing and capture interest,  and she some light on your business). But the similarities end there.

letsblogoff_badgeI love this topic but thought I'd take a little twist on it today. After 16 years of a successful career in technology, I left corporate America in 2001 feeling stifled, sad and beaten down by the mini-recession that followed the tech bubble.  Although we were a young, vibrant company I realized that the larger we got, the less creative we became and the less willing we were (or our lawyers were) to think outside of the box. Since then, I've begun to work in a much more creative industry and I love it. I've had a few larger corporate clients but usually if I suggest something creative, it gets shot done because it might interrupt the process - I get that and I respect that. However for most bigger companies to continue to succeed, they will need to inject tolerance if not encouragement for creativity on the job. And cherish that creativity when it happens. I worked for a start-up in the early 1990's and we had some really creative thinkers on our team. These were guys who were technologists, but were able to think with both sides of their brain. So for me, creativity in a corporate sense always makes me think of  Paul, Shankaren, Ken, Salli...and many others.  We got the job done, but got it done in a new and fresh way. I've realized over the years it's easy to be creative in a creative profession, but to be creative in the corporate world takes real talent. Here's how we defined creativity back in the day:

These days it seems like you need to have a bumpit to create new words. Sarah Palin might refudiate that remark but I think Snooki and her guidos feel it's high time to get some Jersey Shore lingo into the Oxford English Dictionary. Personally, I told someone I had spent considerable time catharterizing this weekend - not to be confused with being catheterized or jazzercizing - after getting dumped unceremoniously by a friend. (Note to readers - at this point I do not have a bumpit) [caption id="attachment_2640" align="alignright" width="204" caption="Snooki has a future as an English teacher"]Snooki has a future as an English teacher[/caption] It made me wonder how words evolved in the first place. How did certain words become accepted into normal use and eventually accepted in the main dictionaries we all use?  Like humongous. Or ginormous, or a zillion. For example, Humongous is in the Random House Dictionary as