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Social Media, Work Dynamics, & Life – The Two Score and Five Year Lens

by James Ball on September 28, 2011

So yeah, this is the first day of my 45th year on the planet…of course I’m reflecting! I really just wanted to jot down a few things to keep you in the loop and as an archive of sorts. Remember the “Social Media Case Study Starting Today” I wrote back in May of 2010? I am supposing that this post will serve as an official update about all of that, and then some.

If you’ve been following for any length of time, then you know that there has been a steep decline in the frequency of my posts here on this blog since that very same May of 2010. Only part of that is because I’ve been so busy. The larger reason is that I’ve been working hard on a startup, one that is wholly based on the fact that I’m onto something big…and I didn’t want to tip my hat and give the world a blow by blow. Not only this, but I’ve also completely changed my spots in the process. I can no longer call myself a social media purist – more on that later.

What’s in a name?

 I am still the digital marketing director and social strategist at AroundAbout Local Media, Inc. I still very much love it and I adore the people I work with. Back when I wrote the post that I just linked to above, we were AroundAbout Community Magazines, Inc.  With the introduction of yours truly, and with eyes wide open and forward facing, we thought a name change was a pretty good idea.

The magazines are hyper-local and all about the communities that they serve, so we’re not suffering in this new dawn of diversity in technology and communications as they relate to advertising and marketing as a business. The magazines are profitable and strong.

We needed our very own web presence, and a strong and exemplary one at that! I explained that we’d need to become a dual-medium product someday in order to stay viable into the future. This is why the name changed to “Local Media” from simply “Community Magazines”.

We’ve been through three iterations of our web presence and are settled on our own site being a portal for contact and sharing to and from our community. Our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds rock! We feel pretty darn social lately. As for a dual-medium product, like, put a banner ad on our website kind of deal? Not so much. This is by far a much too passive proposition. We want to truly help our clients (our advertisers) grow their businesses.

Social Media, SEO, Digital Marketing – Grabbing And Delivering The Lightning

 For years now I’ve walked out a social media purist’s path with an “educate and elevate understanding” mantra. I’ve coached and I’ve consulted, I’ve mentored and I’ve hand-held. I have led to the best of my ability and I have shown the way. For all of this, all of the time invested and monies spent…99.9% of all that I see in my rearview crash and burn. Of my peers who have been candid with me, a majority echo my findings. In lieu of a lengthy explanation that would be better saved for another day’s post, I’ll just say that small business as a whole just doesn’t seem to get it.

Small business have also been largely ignored by all those who would innovate and provide marketing solutions. I’m not talking about the types and sizes of business that can and should afford to have an internal solution. These will ultimately have a human being, or a staff of them to deal with this new media and communications revolution we find ourselves in the middle of. This says nothing of the enterprise. There’s no shortage of solutions, software, and agencies available there.

I’ve set out to change all of this with TrustWorkz, Inc. The company has been fully functioning for some time now, and we are working on the website to finalize a few things before we make a mass push to the world. We are anxious and prepared to scale our operations. You here are some of the first to hear about this. In short, we are a company that provides the Web Operatives who fulfill all of the tasks and duties necessary to keep a business’s web presence all that it needs to be in order to compete and win online. A human being is required for much of this; we are those empathetic and skilled humans. We are the original, unapologetic champions of internet marketing and social media for local, small business.

In a nutshell, I am saying that all of the purist social media speak that dictates how you must be authentic, transparent, etc. is bunk for small business when you get right down to it. No mom and pop or brick and mortar can effectively become enough of a professional marketer to gain any real benefit and leverage from this evolving online ecosystem; not and still do what it is that they need to do each day to deliver value and grow their business. I am saying that if the internet matters to you and has a direct impact on your bottom line as a business…we can be you better than you can be you online. How’s that sit? It sounds presumptuous but it’s true. I have all of the experience and data that I need to stand on this fact.

 What our Web Operatives do, how we function as a company, and many conversations about how we see this entire dynamic unfolding are topics for a later time. I merely wanted to introduce you today. Small business friends – please do give me a call and let me explain what it is that we can do for you.

I am still quite undecided about how this blog will change and adapt to my new role in this space. I am very sure that many opportunities to explain, defend and present will arise. You will notice the changes as I roll them out. I truly do welcome any and all constructive input as I move through all of this. Those of you who are my peers in this space and my friends from around the greater Atlanta area will no doubt be hearing quite enough from me in the weeks and months ahead.

My Blood Pressure and HDL Cholesterol Are Up

 I had a blood pressure scare a few weeks ago. I sat down in one of those drug store blood pressure chairs and it read 154/90. I completely freaked out and launched into a 12 hour full-blown panic attack! It turned out to be nothing much more than a great wakeup call. I went to see my doctor and came out of that interview fine for the most part. What I learned was that there is almost nothing about my lifestyle that could be called pro-active and healthy. I’m working on a few lifestyle changes now. I’ve enjoyed my first 45 years…I want very much to enjoy the next 45 as a healthy man.

If you are around my age and anything at all like me (type A, workaholic, eating on the run, high stress job, no time for exercise…), consider getting a check up and implementing some healthy living.  :O)

~ Thank you all for following along and taking the time to read my words. I invite you to keep doing so – it’s going to get pretty interesting around here!

Chris Kennedy September 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Happy birthday, brother!

Chris J September 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

Happy birthday and great news, James! Best of luck as you roll into your next 45!

heathersebi September 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Your friendly neighborhood cousin nurse thanks you for taking care of yourself! 😉 And, I am super proud of what you have made of yourself—you rock.

charityhisle October 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

So proud of you old friend! Great seeing you today and love your new direction!

@indepthwraps October 7, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Excited about all of this, James! AND glad to hear that you're paying attention to yourself too.

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