Time for a Database Backup Firedrill

lightningColleague Michael Corey shared an interesting story in his post Have you firedrilled your Oracle or Microsoft SQL Database Backup? recently. He tells an all-too-common anecdote about organizations that assume that their back up is working, but have never tested it.

Last summer, we held our breath when the CW Consulting Group offices were struck by lightning and two computers were fried (along with our phone system).

Two things we learned:

  1. surge protectors can’t stand up to lightning
  2. back ups can’t be ignored.

We have a new backup system since that electrical storm, and every night at 10 pm I can hear the back up begin to work. This gave me peace of mind until I read Michael’s post. When is the last time you looked at the back up to make sure it is copying the right data, that the back up is retrievable, and the files are not corrupt?

Note to IT: Check to make sure it is backing up correctly.

What about you? Has your back up system been tested?

Check out Michael’s blog here: http://michaelcorey.ntirety.com/ and learn everything you need to know about database administration. Michael knows his stuff. He is one of the best in the field.

Finding the Golden Ticket in Social Media

golden-ticket.jpgThere’s a lot of good books and blog posts around these days about Social Media and Marketing. Sometimes more then I can keep up with. Something funny happens when I’m about to crack a book open or discover a new post–I feel like Charlie looking for the Golden Ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I can say in all honesty that every day since I’ve gotten into this blogging period of my life (yes, it’s become one of those delineated time periods), I find many golden nuggets–ones I want to share. After all what good is the find if you don’t share it, keep the excitement going?

This week, I found the Golden Ticket in Larry Weber’s book, Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business. Weber describes Old Marketing vs. New Marketing in a brilliant table (pp.33-34). He describes the components of marketing, how they were handled the old way, and how they’re now being done the new marketing way. When reading the table marketers are promised to have many ahah moments, where the pieces to the Social Media puzzle will all fit in.

For now, the one I want to refer to is what he calls the “hierarchy” component of marketing. The old marketing way organized information into channels, folders, categories to suit advertisers. Weber says, the new marketing way is by making information available by demand, by keyword, by what suits users.

If you’ve been sitting at your computer for lets say, a few hours–think about how many times already today you’ve googled a term, looked for a colleague on LinkedIn, read the article that came to your inbox from NYTimes.com, looked up a new artist on iTunes or Amazon mp3 and downloaded the one song you really wanted. You get the point.

If you have a success story of how you’ve recently made information about your organization available by demand, how it’s helping to build your business – we’d love to hear from you.

Using Social Media for Care and Support

caring hearts and handsMost of the posts I’ve written for Impressions through Media the past few months have focused on the use of social media in the business world. But like a growing number of people I know, I’ve been personally participating in sites that provide caregiving to friends and loved ones who are facing a serious illness, and in need of support and services.

Around a year ago, I read an article in Cure magazine about the Lotsa Helping Hands website founded by Barry Katz. Barry personally answered my emails when I had questions in a quick and timely manner. His passion for using a site for caregiving is contagious.

The website name stuck in my mind, and when my good friend was about to start treatment for breast cancer three months ago, I remembered the article.

  1. Within a couple of days we were able to set-up the free website,
  2. The built in features helped organize meals, rides, and a way to keep people informed about my friend’s progress.
  3. By sending out invitations to people we knew would want to be a support, we quickly gathered a list of 72 people who we can keep informed, notify when new messages and requests for volunteers have been posted.

Not only has Lotsa Helping Hands been a powerful and gratifying social community experience, its proven to be effective. We never would have been able to coordinate so many tasks or keep so many people informed in such a coordinated manner.Over the past few weeks, I was invited to join a mailing list to CaringBridge, another caregiving site, where I can read a friend’s blog to keep her friends and family up-to-date on her treatments and status. Her posts are a lovely window into her personal life, the mother of two young children, as she and her husband try to maintain as much normalcy at home as they can. Her posts are personal and poignant.

While going through a serious illness with a loved one can often make you feel helpless, caregiving sites provide a vehicle for organizing and empowering a support system– and many offer resources and tips for how caregivers can take care of themselves, too. Catherine Weber, founder of Impressions through Media, and President of CW Consulting Group, shares my interest and researched a wonderful list of caregiving sites. Feel free to pass this information along to people in your life who may also benefit from having these resources.

Lotsa Helping Hands

Caring Bridge

CarePages

Caring Today

Strength for Caring

Caregving.com

Empowering Caregivers

ShirleyBoard

CareGiverHelper

Carespace (coming soon)

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Managing Generational Difference in a New World

Have you ever been offended in the workplace by someone of a different generation? One third of the workforce has.

As Catherine Weber discussed in December, the Y Generation is accustomed to communicating differently. That difference is significant when compared to traditionalists and baby boomers who are often more single task-oriented, compared to the parallel processing Y Generation. It is surprising that it doesn’t happen more frequently.

JFK and John, Jr.This was a basis for a discussion that took place in KGA, Inc.’s training program on Managing Generational Differences. Karen Shaw, Senior Training Consultant, asked participants to recall how and where Kennedy died. The Traditionalists and Baby Boomers say things like gunshots in Dallas, Texas; Generation Xers recall a plane crash near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. and Generation Y participants say they really are not too sure.

This is the first time in American history that companies have had four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace. Each of these generations has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivations. Unless managers understand these differences, communication issues may arise.

Who comprises these generations?

Traditionalists born 1925-1945 and now 62 to 82 years old
Baby Boomers born 1946-1964 and now 43 to 61 years old
Generation X born 1965-1977 and now 30 to 42 years old
Generation Y/Millennials born 1978-1989 and now 18 to 29 years old

Managing generational differences adds a new dimension to diversity management. Just like a race or gender issues, individual managers may have hidden biases about certain generations. More than likely these stem from his or her own personal situation. Helping managers understand this dimension of diversity can be daunting.

Generational differences may affect a manager’s communication style. From an HR strategy standpoint, these differences may also call for new approaches to recruiting and on-boarding practices, technology, learning styles, career expectations, performance management, talent management, and reward systems.

Understanding how to attract, motivate and retain the different generations in the work place is an important issue to Human Resources professionals and to companies around the world as the competition for qualified workers increases.

Blogging Heroes

book cover Blogging HeroesRecently I came across the book Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers. The author, Michael Banks, interviewed 30 bloggers who he found listed on Technorati, Digg, Alexa and other sources to see which blogs were popular, and several he says “because they were different, and not the same old faces from the Top 100 lists.”

Banks spent months interviewing the bloggers asking them for advice on how to start and maintain a blog, what tools to use, how to research, attract and measure audiences. He also asked what they believed led to their success.

Wiley, the publisher of Blogging Heroes, made some of the chapters of the book available on the web. (An example of a good social media move!)

See the full list of the bloggers and links to their sites, as well as four articles Michael Banks wrote about the writing of Blogging Heroes by clicking, Read the rest of this entry below.

Blogging Heroes is a great book to keep on your bookshelf, especially for the times when you question the goal and purpose of your blog. I hope you’ll find the list of interest, and that the experiences of the bloggers will provide inspiration and guidance.

Are there bloggers you’d like to let us know about? We’d love to hear from you.

Continue reading

Did someone say ice cream?

picture of moose's face and tracksThis past weekend I was introduced to a delicious treat…Moose Tracks ice cream. Why am I sharing my ice cream preferences with you on this “Impressions Through Media” blog? Well… I liked this ice cream so much that I was drawn to my laptop later that night to google “moose tracks ice cream.” Not only did I discover where to buy my next pint, but much to my surprise, I learned that its manufacturer, Denali Flavors, is a true player in the blogosphere!

In fact, Denali Flavors was featured in a recent NY Times article, “Blogging’s a Low-cost, High Return Marketing Tool” that describes small businesses who successfully use blogs for marketing. The company specifically caught my attention for its experimentation with various types of blogs over the past few years. Denali Flavors has launched various blogs to determine the ideal “traffic-generator” for its web site. One blog followed a Denali-sponsored bicycle team as it raised money for an orphanage in Latvia. Another, which is still live, tracked the whereabouts of a famous moose as it traveled thoughout the country.

What really intrigues me is Denali’s most successful blog in terms of traffic – Free Money Finance – a blog that has absolutely nothing to do with its ice cream business. The company chose to blog about personal finance as it was a popular search category on the web, and was something of interest to its Marketing department. The blog generates significant traffic and serves as an indepedent advertising and media outlet for Moose Tracks. Visit the blog and you’ll see the Moose Tracks logo prominently featured on the right-hand side. The blog, for a cost of about $400 per year, reportedly receives about 4,500 visits each day and each visitor views two pages on average, which means they see two ads for Moose Tracks ice cream every time they visit. That could translate into a lot of ice cream sales for Denali!

As Denali demonstrates, a blog is a low-cost marketing tool that can be successfully employed to raise company profile and build brand.

And the winners are…

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CW Consulting Group is pleased to announce the winners of the iSPOT uSPOT Super Bowl XLII Contest.

First Prize, Tom Brady Replica Jersey, goes to Bob Carson for his thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of the TV spots aired during the Super Bowl. Congratulations, Bob.

The iSPOT uSPOT winners of the $25 Amazon Mp3 Gift Certificates go to:

  • Charlotte Kundrath
  • Laurie Hull
  • Miquel Cancino
  • Dave Reske


Congratulations to all of our winners. Thank you for your valuable observations and insights.

Special thanks to everyone who joined in the conversation on Impressions through Media. We look forward to hearing from you again.

Monday Morning Quarterback

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Enter the iSPOT uSPOT contest

Monday’s are usually hard mornings to buckle down and get focused. And today may be feeling especially difficult.

Some Super Bowl viewers may be having a hard time because they stayed up late celebrating the Giants 17-14 win. In my neck of the woods, Pats fans are looking down and dejected this morning, especially as they scour over their Boston Globe reading the front page cover story “History Derailed” and lines like “18 and done.”

We here at CW Consulting Group want to remind you that like the ad people over on Madison Avenue, you too, can turn your attention today to the 54 TV spots (yes, that’s why it seemed like a lot) aired during the Super Bowl, and have a chance to win a prize.

As New York Times Blogger, Stuart Elliott, writes: “Whether spots were 30 or 60 seconds long (or in the case of FedEx, 45), almost every one ended with the advertiser’s Web address. Not long ago, Monday morning quarterbacks in interactive marketing criticized many Super Bowl sponsors for forgetting or neglecting to do that. This year, the advertisers seemed to have learned their lessons.”

Tell us –which spot(s) engaged you, were good examples of social media, and involved you in interactive marketing more then others. Need a refresher? See the spots again on myspace.

All comments will be reviewed today. The most insightful post will receive a Tom Brady Jersey. Five runners up will receive an Amazon mp3 gift card for $25. Winners will be announced by end of business.

First Quarter Comments from the Framingham Superbowl party

iSpot uSpotFolks, I have gen x, gen y and baby boomers here.

Comments so far: godaddy ad was popular overall for social media impact. Careerbuilder was impactful but “grossed out” many.

The Gen Y guys on the couch liked the Planters nuts, FedEx pidgens and the fire breathing bud light ad. Still looking for the ultimate social networking experience. Would love to hear what you’re all thinking. Going back to watch Tom Petty Halftime show….