Category Archives: Twitter

Haiti Challenge

I admit I haven’t done much reading on this disaster in Haiti.  I’m just sitting down to write about thoughts that have been going through my mind for 24 hours with no time to process.  Yesterday the recurring theme on Twitter was, “Watching scenes from Haiti.  Wow.  Shocked.  Praying for Haiti.”

From where I sit on a daily basis I get my news from Twitter.  I fire up my iPod Touch and read “tweets” from people who make sense to me.  But this post is NOT about Twitter.  It’s about people’s reactions to the world.  My Twitter feed has given me a very unique perspective on this event from people who I highly respect.  I don’t hear from strangers.  I hear from very intelligent, thoughtful, and caring people.  And their response has been one of awe, compassion and action.  And that is what this post is about – action.

My life has changed since Sorin was born. The thought of my son suffering is unbearable.  And when I look at cnn.com and nytimes.com and see the photos of Haiti, I see news through a new lens now – awe.  I see it through the parent’s lens, and I know each person suffering is someone’s child.  And they need help.

As I said, I haven’t done much reading on this.  But really, what do you need to know?  You need to see pictures and hear a couple stories of what’s happening.  From the nytimes.com:

“You can’t do anything about the dead bodies, but inside many of these buildings people may still be alive. And their time is running out.”

–Eduardo A. Fierro, a structural engineer
inspecting quake-damaged buildings

Their time is running out.  I’m sitting on a laptop computer, sore from a hard day’s work, and ready to get some sleep.  But their time is running out.  

Compassion.

I have no other stories to share.  Do you really need one?  My purpose is very simple:  action.  It’s too easy to pass up opportunities to help.  I’ve done it so many times in the past.  Not this time.  I was inspired by Bebo Norman’s tweet where he said that he would donate $5 for everyone who repeated his plea (on Twitter) for financial support to Compassion International.  My challenge is this:  

  • donate $5 or $10 to World Vision, Compassion International, or the Red Cross (texting “disaster” or “Haiti” to 90999 will take it right out of your phone bill)
  • write on my Facebook wall that you did this (or comment on this blog post)
  • I will match your gift 

I started the challenge this morning, and I have 4 partners on my team

If you’d like to forward this blog post to someone who may be interested, please copy and paste right after you visit one of the three websites above.

Awe   =>>  Compassion   =>>   Action

Things I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a great time for family and reflection.  It’s a holiday that everyone can agree on and this is evident in our culture’s universal celebration on this weekend.  Of course as I’m writing this plenty of people have moved beyond Thanksgiving towards Christmas and the Black Friday event that’s gotten completely out of control.  But still, Thanksgiving is a great weekend.

Briefly, let me reflect on what I’m thankful for.  Let me start with the Big Rocks:
  1. Family:  Katie is such an amazing mother.  She works so hard and makes me so proud.  Sorin is healthy and a joy to watch as he plays throughout the day and grows up before our eyes.
  2. My job:  While this isn’t a career for me, Bill at H&H Arborists is an excellent employer.  I’ve learned a lot from him and had an opportunity to grow in my leadership and management.
  3. My parents:  mom and dad are right across the street and have helped with Sorin and other duties around our house.  They are very giving individuals, both of their time and their resources.
  4. My in-laws:  Steve and Sue are very welcoming and involved in our lives as we work into parenthood.  
  5. My relationship with God:  My rock and my Savior.  All comfort and security is found in the Creator.
And then I’m thankful for many things that are along a different line of thinking.  Let me explain:
  1. My gifts and abilities:  I am discovering day after day how God has established qualities in me that show how He will use me in this world.  Sure, I’m frustrated with certain areas of life (I’m not in the career field I want to be in) but he’s given me passions and skills, thoughts and ideas to where I can see where this is leading me in the future.
  2. Social Media:  I have the ability to keep up with so much information right now.  I follow top notch pastors from around the country.  I hear industry tips and best practices from exercise specialists who are further along in their career than me which motivates me and my business plans.  I have relationships with friends on Facebook that weren’t possible years ago because they’ve moved away.  Social media has allowed me to be hyper-connected and it’s a really good thing.
  3. Things that are FREE:  With so much information and good products available, think of what we get for free.  Google has made everything knowable within seconds.  My blog freely allows me to reflect on life and share it with whoever wants to listen (all five of you).  Twitter allow me to listen to and write to thousands of people on a variety of subjects.  And YouTube allows me to watch U2 live from the Rose Bowl, all for free.
  4. My health:  I love running.  I won’t be winning any races any time soon but working out is enjoyable for me.  I’m always up for a challenge and my goals are changing by the season.  
  5. My career goals:  God gave me the passion for exercise and education.  I feel like I’ve been charged with helping people become healthier individuals and this is an admirable calling in life.  God has instilled this in me and continues to bless me with the thoughts and ideas required to have a successful business and affect on my community.
  6. The Office and Community:  Katie and I laugh weekly very hard when we watch these two shows.
  7. Sorin’s Puma sweatsuit from Grant and Jes:  You’ve got to see him in this – he should have one of these outfits at every stage of his growth.
I’m very thankful on many different levels.  We live in a very privileged society and we should never forget that.  

How to Read 47 Blogs Per Day

Technology is progressing such that we no longer have to search out information or news:  it comes to us.  Each day we check email, Facebook, our favorite news sites, and maybe some blogs.  Is that accurate?  How do you spend your time online?  How do you get your information?

Would it surprise you that I read 47 blogs per day?  Would you believe that on average I catch up on my news in less than 20 minutes?  This includes 47 blogs and about 150 Twitter updates per day!

How is it possible?

Well if you look over my shoulder as I sit in my office, you’d see that I’m not reading every post or every update.  That’s probably obvious.  But with the help of Google Reader I can look through the titles of every post and even the first few paragraphs to determine if it’s something I should read in its entirety.  We all do this with the paper or our favorite magazines.  The beautiful part of this is that I’m sorting through blogs that interest me and news sources that I’ve chosen to subscribe to.

Here’s how it works:  Go to Google Reader and set up an account.  (If you already have a Gmail or Blogger account you can use the same login and password).  On the left you will see all your subscription.  Now you need to fill them.  Open a separate tab (tell me you’re using Firefox) and go to a blog you’d like to follow.  For example here’s Sorin’s.  When you visit a website or blog that updates their information on a regular basis, they’re assigned an RSS feed and the icon looks like this.  What you need to do is click this button and then “subscribe to RSS” and it will take you to a page where you can “add to Google Homepage” or “add to Google Reader.”  Choose the Reader. 

You’ve just subscribed to your first blog – and a good one at that!!  Start finding some good blogs to follow, then progress to websites and news feeds.  You’ll be surprised what’s out there.  If you need more help I’d be happy to walk through more details with you. 

Remember:  Make the technology work for you.  You don’t need to visit each website or blog, it will come to you!  Are you interested in the Health Section of the NYTimes.com or the Business Section of FoxNews?  You can have these websites come to your Google Reader rather than visit them every day.  You’ll never go back.

Race Week

I am very excited to be at the final training week for the Milwaukee Marathon this Sunday. It is my third marathon, my second this year. I did Madison Marathon for the first time in 2007 and finished in 4:04. Last May I did Madison again and met my goal of going under 4 hours – I finished in 3:59. And now I’ve completed my training for this marathon on the heels of my Madison marathon, so the two consecutive training programs is making me very excited to see “how fast” I can go on Sunday.

Training is so motivational for me. I’ve made many updates on Facebook and Twitter this summer as I’ve processed my runs and the training program. It’s been great to see how much stronger my body has gotten from all the miles I’ve logged. Are you aware of the capabilities of the human body? I’m not saying everyone should run marathons. But what might it be for you? Your first 5K? A run/walk. A brisk bike ride around the lake? What could you train for that would require some time and effort, but you think is possible in 8 weeks of training?

So this week I’m resting and looking back on my first two marathons – how my splits were and what my heart rate was over the course of the run. My friend Tom Moore says that marathons start after mile 20 – and I agree. It’s the last six miles that are really what you train for, especially after your first marathon. In May I basically ran two different runs – my first 18 miles were great and my last 8 went downhill. So I’m starting to develop strategy for having more in the tank at the end.

If you’re interested in following me on Sunday, you can watch my Twitter feed which my sister will be updating.

Social Media Revolution

There are certain things that I really get jazzed about that others could care less about.  Most people hate Favre – I’m still a fan.  Friends and family are still using Hotmail and Yahoo – Gmail is the best.  And U2 is still the best band on the planet.

While I’m aware that my personality leans towards passion and action, I know that not everyone gets as excited as I do about certain things in life.  But some things are worthy of more attention than people give me credit for.  My career choice is to be an exercise professional.  While you may not view it as important as I do, and though you may not talk about it as much as I do, you should still do something about it.  Your health, livelihood, and quality of life depend on it.  And that’s independent from me – it’s just a fact.

In the same way, I don’t see too many of my friends and family getting excited about Social Media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube).  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them.  Because if it doesn’t now, it sure will in the future.  Many of my friends have ditched email and now message each other through Facebook.  I’ve been able to keep friends and family informed with my life and being a husband and father through Facebook updates and photo albums that I can share.  You can’t do that with email.  I’ve learned to not only find information from the web but share the relevant stuff publicly with Facebook, Twitter, and my blog.  News and information is so much more personal when it’s shared this way.

As you can see I’m still trying to find my voice on this.  While I may not communicate it as effectively as I’d like, the beauty of computers and the internet is sometimes I don’t have to.  I came across this YouTube video last week from a friend I follow on Twitter.

I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts about Social Media after watching this clip.  It goes fast, so you may want to keep your hand on the pause button.

Tweeting the NFL

I understand that not everyone is fully buying into the Social Media culture that is forming.  Forming…  it’s established.  It’s just a matter if you want to be a part of it.  Today I read an article talking about tv advertising being still relevant, but social media is taking “center stage”.  I know plenty of my friends who shrugg this off, and that’s fine.  Just remember that I mentioned it here, back on 9/22/09.

One of the most interesting developments for social media has been with Twitter and the NFL.  Players like OchoCinco have advertised their intent to Tweet during games.  The NFL has countered with adjusting their policy on Twitter and social media numerous times now. 

Where does free speech come in?  As an avid listener to sports radio, I’m hearing these stories more and more often.  And they’re asking questions like this.  But what we need to remember is that the NFL is an employer.  These players are not independent contractors.  The NFL shouldn’t have a problem telling players (employees) what policy will be when you’re “on the clock.” 

Now when a player is on their own time…  knock yourself out!  I’m a HUGE fan of behind the scenes action.  That’s what makes Twitter so great.  We’re getting a glimpse into certain celebrities’ lives we’ve never seen before.  And as much as I’d love to hear sideline chats and thoughts from players during the game, during halftime, and before their interviews at their lockers, the NFL needs to stand firm in their social media policy – no Tweeting on our watch.

Book Giveaway – Donald Miller’s "A Million Miles"

I have recently started reviewing books for Thomas Nelson as part of their book review bloggers program.  My second title will probably be an all-time favorite – Donald Miller‘s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”  Katie and I were sitting on the porch when the UPS man pulled up with a box that was bigger than expected… because there were TWO books included!!

The publisher (CEO Michael Hyatt) thought that the book was so good that he wanted us to give away a copy to a friend.  So I’ve decided to have a little fun with this.  I’ve teased this on Facebook and Twitter for the last week and here on my blog I’ll be giving away the free copy.

Here’s what will happen:

  1. You post a comment at the bottom of this post telling me why you deserve the free copy.  Include your first name or an identifying title.  Get creative!!
  2. You email me your full name and address in case I choose you as the winner. (Hans@uwalumni.com OR message me on Facebook)  IMPORTANT:  include “Donald Miller book” in the subject so I can sort through them.
  3. I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday night and post something on Thursday. 

If you’re so inclined, please check out my blog and participate in some conversations.  Oh, did I mention I may or may not have some Nooma videos to give away later?  Shameless promotion, I know.

Twitter: What Has Your Attention

I am a huge fan of Twitter.  But many people I talk to are still confused about what it is and why someone would do it.  Twitter originally (and probably still) asked users, “What are you doing?”  And this is why I get so much negative feedback about Twitter – because that’s such a self-centered question.  People ask me, “Why are you so important that people want to know what you had for lunch today?”

That’s their best response:  Who cares what you’re eating right now or that you’re at the gas station…

I agree!!  Who CARES!?!?!

Why Twitter?  When you give Twitter a couple weeks of your time, at only 5 minutes per day, you’ll see how it can be so addicting.  Personally, I follow people interested in business, leadership, exercise, and social media.  These are all interests of mine and I can instantly get information that is relevant to my life.  You see, instead of using Twitter to answer the question “what are you doing”, the people I follow are basically commenting on “what has your attention right now.”  Do you see the difference?  The later question means we’re sharing information about interests, not necessarily ME.

The other thing that non-Twitter users don’t understand is how quickly we can filter through unnecessary tweets.  Especially on my iPod touch, I can page right through a handful of people’s tweets depending on how much time I have at that particular moment.  I can also add tweets to my favorites so I can go back later when I have more time and read further.

Have I peaked your interest?  As with email, Facebook, and even talking to people on the phone, Twitter can be used as much or as little as you want.  I’m not a slave to Twitter – I use it as a tool.  And it can be a powerful tool for information, ideas, research, and relationships if use it right.