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Social Media Tips for Small Biz: Should You Be On Google+?

As a social media pro, I’m constantly asked about that “newfangled” Google-powered networking platform: should I be on it? what’s the point? how do I use it? I don’t get it. And, as a former Google+ Local community manager who directly worked on the product tweaks and best practices, I know who should be using Google+, how best to utilize it and who shouldn’t bother.

If you’re looking for a social media network that works similarly to Facebook where you can post stuff to get immediate gratification, lots of followers and loads of attention, then you’re in the wrong place. Google+ is great for managing your personal network and customer interaction, and maintaining your business information in Google; but a “social networking” tool, in the traditional sense, it’s not.

Google+ is more of a personal hub for your interests and your contacts; down to what restaurants you and your friends have rated highly, and even communicating via Gmail to new people you’ve connected with (without even exchanging email addresses). Most importantly, it manages your small business or brand presence over the entire Google universe.

So should you be on Google+? Here are some reasons to consider.

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BCH Logo

A Thank You to the Comic Book Community from Boston Children’s Hospital

Dear friends in the comic book community,

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity you have shown our hospital and the city of Boston with your donations since the bombing. We have received approximately 2,000 comics and books, and are in the process of sorting them and distributing them to sick children. The donations have been so generous, that we have contacted child life specialists from other children’s hospitals in the area (Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center), and we will share your donations with them.

We have personally seen the smiles on kids faces as we have handed out the books, and we hope getting these into the hands of children will encourage a new generation of comic and book readers. Again, thanks to ALL of you: publishers, writers, artists, and fans who are helping us bounce back from a terrible tragedy.

Sincerely,

Athos Bousvaros, MD
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston, MA

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Cocktail Happy: Pegu Club at Backbar

Backbar is Somerville, Massachusett’s joint; a favorite for industry folk, a hangout for the irony-free hipster types, neighborhood twenty-somethings, and, well…me. I fall into any of these categories (except for the fact that I don’t live in the ‘Ville), and into the most important one: people who simply want a good drink.

The art of the cocktail is practiced at Backbar, and it’s obvious the staff cares — you’ll wait a little longer for your concoction to be crafted, but it will be all worth it once that liquid gold hits your lips. Case in point: bartender Sam Treadway’s riff on the Pegu Club, a drink my friends at Barker & Mills (a superb handmade garnish company) urged me to try, which features their cherry juice.

A mix of gin, cherry cordial, lime juice and angostura bitters, this one is tart, slightly sweet, and has a smoky, gin-y bite. Sip it, because you’re classy.

The bounty.

The Several-Month Comic Book Hiatus.

Today, I instituted an active “forced-hour-of-reading” rule, in which I would make the time to indulge in my favorite past-time, one hour per day. To prepare, I brewed some chamomile in a favorite clay mug, grabbed my lip balm (a necessity), lit a candle and curled up on the couch with one of the many novels piling up on my “to-read” shelf.

That hour consisted of a metaphorical WWE fight in my brain between Broca’s area and the right hemisphere, my eyes glazing over pages of text while my brain ticked off things I should be doing instead of sitting there. Work: update the analytics spreadsheet. Send that email. Pick out what you’re going to wear to tomorrow night’s event. Shopping list — I need milk (Lactaid), whole wheat bread, egg whites, tomatoes. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil.

So, maybe the long work of fiction wasn’t going to work for me today. I turned to my ever-climbing pile of single issue comic books  — all #1′s of new series — that I had purchased in one of my comic book shop fits (where I black out and end up with a receipt for $150 an hour later), glaring at me from my night table. I tossed them onto the couch, took a happy breath, and began.

So, I’m reading today. Together, the art and words have done the trick, allowing me to engage the parts of my brain needed to distract me from those looming responsibilities. Next stop will be back to the comic shop for the #2s (and so on), which I have made a personal promise to not leave collecting dust for six months.

Then again, I can always wait for the trades.

_____________________

In case you’re wondering, here’s what’s in my bounty:

  • TMNT reboot, #1 + #2
  • Batwoman, Zero Issue (Jan ’11)
  • The Infinite Vacation, #2
  • King, #1
  • Bendis & Bagley’s Brilliant, #1
  • R13, #1C
  • Batman: Gates of Gotham, #1
  • Green Wake, #1 + #2
  • Drums, #1
  • Scarlet, #1-3
  • Last Mortal, #1
  • Philip K. Dick’s Electric Ant, #1 + #2
  • Abe Sapien, #1 (of 2)
  • Ultimate Comics: X-Men, #1
  • Nether World, #1
  • Butcher Baker, #1 +#2
  • X-Men: Giant Size, #1
  • Batman: Arkham City, #1
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Do They Speak “Awesome” in Costa Rica?

Well, it’s official: I’m a spoiled brat. You all may have known this before, and my parents have been well aware of this for years – but it has reached a whole new level with this latest development: I just received an all-expenses-paid, 8-day, 7-night trip to Costa Rica from their Tourism Board.
It’s called The Million Dollar Gift of Happiness, and they’ve gifted lucky bloggers and social media people like yours truly with an opportunity to experience Costa Rica in all its beauty. And they don’t just send you there and say hasta luego – they pack each day with incredible adventures: an aerial tram tour over the rainforest, tours of small towns and organic cocoa + banana plantations; Caribbean cooking with the locals, rides down the Yorkin River in a dug-out canoe; and visits to an exotic animal rescue center (where you get to play with MONKEYS!!!1!!!) . And don’t forget beach lounging and spa-going at the 4-star resorts.

So…see the sloth guy up in that picture? He’s my new best friend. We’ll be bunking together. I’ll make him little hats out of scraps of my clothing, and I will see how long it takes for him to rip it off his head and gauge out my eyes with his sickle-like hands.

Thank you to the wonderful Alana Brooks for making this happen, and, of course to Visit Costa Rica (@Visit_CostaRica) for this insane opportunity.