Blood Pressure – Know Your Numbers

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how my heart beats.  There’s a family history of heart disease and congestive heart failure. Luckily for me, so far my blood pressure has trended on the low end of normal. However, now that the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have revised the guidelines for interpreting blood pressure (bp) numbers, I’m trending more towards “normal”.

I want low normal back and I bought a blood pressure monitor to motivate me to get there.

Mostly though, I’m a science geek and I want to see how much my blood pressure drops after doing yoga, and for how long that benefit lasts.  (This is the real reason I bought the bp monitor).

Then I discovered there’s quite a bit more to taking one’s blood pressure than sitting down, wrapping the cuff around an arm, and waiting patiently.

Did you know there are eleven elements that go into taking blood pressure correctly? And that only one out of 159 medical students tested in 2015 got all eleven? Most students averaged a 4.1. Meaning out of the eleven things that are supposed to occur before, during and after taking a blood pressure reading, most students remembered to do four of the eleven.  Four.

Also, blood pressure surges in the a.m. So, taking a bp rating in the morning and in the evening is recommended.

And then there’s how to record it. My bp machine has a memory, although I’m not at all sure how to access it. Plus, it’s much more meaningful to me to physically write down those numbers.

So now I take my blood pressure in the morning., 30 minutes after breakfast, and again in the evening, sometime around 8p or so. (and at various times throughout the day because my yoga schedule changes from day to day. Seriously, I’m a geek). I take it twice each time after sitting still for five minutes, with a one minute break in between readings.

And, because I’m a geek, (have I mentioned that?) I made a blood pressure tracker. And I’m sharing it with you.

Remember, I’m a marketing professional and a mindfulness instructor. I’m not a doctor, nor do I have medical training. This is for educational purposes only and none of this is to be taken as medical advice.

Also, home blood pressure monitoring is not a substitute for visits to your doctor. Always consult your physician if you believe there is cause for concern.

Sources:

Don’t Just Get Your Blood Pressure Checked; Make Sure It’s Taken The Right Way

New ACC/AHA High Blood Pressure Guidelines Lower Definition Of Hypertension

Nearly Half Of US Adults Could Now Be Classified With High Blood Pressure, Under New Definitions

Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure In The Morning

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

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Thinking About Year-End Charitable Giving

Giving this year is especially important, in my opinion. And it requires more due diligence than ever to identify organizations intending to truly benefit those they serve.

Recently, I evaluated a small non-profit  that looks great online. Professional website, slickly produced testimonial videos and expertly written marketing copy. After maybe 45 minutes researching I was disappointed, though not surprised, to learn that this organization has consistently lost money on their fundraiser year after year, that even though the organization continues to lose money salaries go up, and that over the last fiscal year their revenue was tens of thousands of dollars less than their expenses. How, exactly, are they truly benefiting those they serve with those numbers?

The ways in which a non-profit spends the money it is given is a good indicator of intent.

During my days in non-profit administration, I had the benefit of being mentored by one of the best around. He consistently stressed the importance of overhead ratios : a minimum of 70% of each dollar raised goes back to the programs for those being served by the organization. In other words, no more than 30% of funds an organization raises can be spent on overhead (and frankly, he preferred no more than $15% be spent on overhead).

Charity Navigator, one of the resources I recommend, has developed guidelines outlining how a non-profit’s fundraising dollars should be allocated. Named Financial Efficiency Performance Metrics, Charity Navigator believes “those spending less than a third of their budget on program expenses are simply not living up to their missions”.

Charity Navigator evaluates over 8,000 organizations. However, they only rate organizations with over $1M in revenue. For those non-profits you’re considering with less than $1M, below are some other ways to understand how they manage their money and to determine if the organization is a good fit for your charitable giving.

Resources:

990 Finder   My favorite tool, honestly. Next to an annual report (which some smaller organizations can’t afford to produce) a 990 tells me how an organization spends their money. I look for organizations that spend at least $.85 of every $1.00 on programming, and the 990 helps me figure that out.

Charity Watch – I use this for the “articles by keyword” feature. When searching for an organization, Charity Watch will also return results for articles with that organization’s name as a search term.

ProPublica has a nonprofit explorer that I use for visual representation of a non-profit’s spending.

IRS Exempt Organization Search  Basic due diligence here. Used to find EIN numbers, federal deductibility status, and a link to those non-profits who have had their status revoked.

State SOS offices:   Most states require non-profits to register with the state. Conducting a “business name search” on the SoS website will allow you to determine if a non-profit is in good standing with the state and will show if they file the required paperwork on time. It may also give you access to the organization’s articles of incorporation, etc.

Additionally, annual reports and audited financial statements are a great way to gain insight into a non-profit’s intent.

It cannot be overstated–Older, established non-profits deserve just as much scrutiny as smaller, less well-established non-profits. In some cases, I might argue that they deserve more scrutiny, if only to guarantee that their mission and program funding have remained stable and in line with those they serve.  Case in point: Red Cross Executive Director doesn’t know what portion of donations go to Harvey Relief (8/30/2017).

VIP.S. Tax reform will impact charitable giving. PBS has conducted an analysis here.

Also, this.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

Net Neutrality Is A Big Deal — UPDATED

(12/15)     The FCC voted yesterday to kill net neutrality. We’re keeping this space updated with what that means for us, how (and when) it will affect us, and what we can all do about it.

First action item: Call your members of congress.  This link gives you their contact information.  Note: This info. is only for their Washington D.C. office. Click on each member’s webpage to find their local office contact info. Then call both locations for each of your congress members. Pro tip: Put it in your calendar to call them on a regular basis.

______________________

Communication, however imperfect, is the fundamental to society. To our society. Enabling debilitating access to information obtained via any format suppresses free speech, places an even heavier financial burden on public school budgets, and contributes to insurmountable challenges for small businesses.

An open internet does not stifle investment or innovation.

In three weeks (Dec. 14th) the FCC will vote to end net neutrality.  That vote could negatively impact us. All of us.

Let’s protect our right to go where we want to go and do what we want to do on the internet. 5calls.org and jointhebattleforthenet.com offer many ways to make our voices heard, from calling and writing our members of congress to ready-made alerts and banners for our social spaces.

The plan to end net neutrality explained here.   The FCC’s proposal here.

Why preserving net neutrality matters: 
Explainer video here (:34).
Another explainer video with more detail here (6:19)
Article here.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s position in favor of net neutrality here.

Nov. 27, 2017 letter from hundreds of businesses to the Chairman of the FCC in favor of preserving net neutrality.

Op-Ed from member of the FCC in support of net neutrality. “Net Neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content.”
Her profile here.

Regardless of political orientation, this affects us all. We will all suffer the consequences of ending net neutrality. 

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

May Deal – Pay What You Think Is Fair

A couple of weeks ago maybe, as I was sitting in my office staring out the window, I was overcome with how much my life has changed and how overwhelmingly grateful I am for so much.

A couple of years ago life was upended. All at once. As is life’s prerogative. Initially, this was not o.k.

Not. O.k. At. All.

I was fond of saying “It’s fine if my work life is chaos as long as my home life isn’t.” And vice versa. This was not that. This was all chaos all the time.

A couple of months ago, the last of that chaos worked it’s way out of the picture.

And that’s how I came to be looking out my office window a couple of weeks ago. That office, that window, that view, are the end result of all that chaos. And the view feels good.

HeyAmyLou came to be during all that chaos. And now is the time to celebrate.

So, HeyAmyLou is making May Pay What You Think Is Fair Pricing Month for our newsletter production and design services, mailing list development and maintenance, or website development services.

You tell us what you think is fair pricing. HeyAmyLou will  give you the same great service, product and attention you always get.

HeyAmyLou is a company built around ethics, respect, family, and fun. We take pride in the ability to meet our client’s needs. Pay What You Think Is Fair Month is our virtual cake and candles celebration. A big WHOO-HOO! We MADE it!

We want you and your business to make it, too.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

*image created with Canva.

My Word(s) For 2017

I like words. Mostly, I like them in the form of books, articles, and lyrics. Then, I read an article (see!) about choosing a word. One word. To guide the whole year, I was intrigued. And appalled. ONE word? I like words, plural. Lots and lots of words. Just one?

Turns out, lots of people do this choosing of one word thing. Chris Brogan writes a lengthy blog post about his (he chooses three. Still, though.) Elise Blaha sent out an email mentioning hers, the Huffington Post even wrote and article on it.  And once I got going, I found all kinds of websites (here, and here  for starters) devoted to the process of picking one word. Oh, and the Oxford Living Dictionaries even got in on it, although their process is arguably a bit different.

It sounds cheezy, I know. And admittedly, I didn’t do any of the prep or soul-searching recommended. I sat down one morning in late 2015, took a look around and decided that in 2016 I wanted EASE. That’s it. EASE.

So, starting January 1, 2016, I wrote the word at the top of each weekly page in my calendar, and any time I found myself barreling toward a situation that was lining up to be anything other than easy, I repeated the word over and over to myself. And I took time each week to write down a couple of ways in which my week had included EASE. 90 days in, I started noticing a shift. EASE was more prevalent in my daily life. And, in those instances where EASE was elusive, the realization that it wasn’t necessarily me who was making the interaction hard was quite useful.  As was the reminder that in situations lacking EASE I didn’t automatically have to contribute to making things more difficult.

So, I’m doing it again this year. And again, it was pretty spontaneous. I auditioned quite a few words throughout the year and when it came time to choose, I chose none of them. Instead, I went with a word that I think will serve me just as well as EASE did last year.

2017’s word is REJECT.

As in:

  • I reject false conclusions
  • I reject being drawn into other’s drama
  • I reject complacency

You get the idea.

I think, though, that REJECT needs balance. So I’m also choosing WHOLE.

WHOLE reminds me that in REJECTing there is room for replacing, rebuilding, and reconnecting.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

A Different Kind Of Post For A Different Kind Of Election

I’m not here to talk politics beyond saying that I hope you’ll vote.

I’m here to talk about stress. A recent article in the Washington Post used the term “election stress disorder”. Whatever you call it, stress is real, and it takes a toll on us physically, emotionally and mentally.

I’m encouraging you to actively plan for and support your mental health over the next 24-48 hours, and offer suggestions that might get you to thinking about ways to take care of you.

Take additional stress out of your day. If you don’t live in a state with early voting chances are you’ll already be standing in one line tomorrow. Consider avoiding additional ones.

  • Schedule 15 minutes today to fill up your gas tank.
  • Set aside some time before tomorrow to pick up your groceries and run any other errands.

Work to avoid the 24 hour “breaking news” cycle and constant Facebook commentary.

  • Temporarily mute the device notifications from news and social media apps. You decide how your news is delivered, not the manufacturers of your phone, tablet or other devices.
  • Turn off the tv. The New York Times is lowering their paywall from November 7-9. Maybe choose to actively read the election results according to your schedule instead of passively having them shouted at you throughout the day. Your local tv stations will post election results, too.

Remember your health.

  • Tara Stiles is offering 50% off all of her downloadable yoga videos. With the discount, her 60-minute videos are $7.50 and her 30-minute videos are $5.00. Use the code VOTE2016 and make sure your discount is showing before checking out. Or, head to your local yoga studio for a drop-in.
  • Dan Harris has created a page with links to several great election stress meditations. My personal favorite is “Powers of 10” led by Jeff Warren. It’s approx. 10 minutes long. If you aren’t familiar with Dan, he wrote the book 10% Happier and developed the app “10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics”.
  • If meditation isn’t your thing, consider a couple of 15-minute walks throughout the day, without the headphones or other distractions.

You’ve voted and decided the constant stream of “expert commentary” is more than you want to invite into your day. Go a different route and skip the drama.

  • Consider learning something new. MIT offers a wide-ranging catalog of free, self-paced coursework including photography, art history, and Italian, in addition to their standard engineering and mathematical coursework.  Coursera, and Skillshare also have a wide variety of offerings, although there may be costs associated. If you’re looking for something more hands on, Creativebug offers classes on knitting, sewing, art and design. There’s a free 7-day trial, too.
  • Podcasts; I dig ’em. Consider tuning in to Thrilling Adventure Hour, NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and The Lapse. Or google “podcasts and [insert your favorite topic here]”.  Warning, there is probably swearing in each of the podcasts I just recommended.
  • The library. My favorite place in all the land. Download audiobooks, ebooks, and music to pack your devices with distractions. Or, go old-school and check out a bunch of movies on DVD. Order a pizza and invite some friends and family over. Instant mental health boost.
  • Take the same pizza and friends/family combo and throw in some board games. Also a terrific way disengage from “election stress”.

Full disclosure: As I’m typing this I realize MSNBC is on in the background.
I assure you I have my own work to do to support my mental health.

We are all in this together.

Want to know more?

Curated Emails
Did you find this email helpful? I’m considering doing more of them for those that are interested. If you are, share your email here.
Mindfulness
If you’re interested in my upcoming mindfulness trainings, share your email here.
Life Mapping
If you’re interested in my upcoming life mapping trainings, share your email here.
Routines and Rituals
I’m expanding my trainings to include the science of routines and rituals, how they positively impact our lives, and why they can be so difficult to maintain. If you’re interested, share your email here.
Emergency Preparedness
I’m expanding my emergency preparedness trainings and including preparedness for small business owners. If you’re interested in my upcoming emergency prep trainings, share your email here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

Busy

From a recent blog post by Kate Northrup

Are you addicted to being “crazy busy” and praying for more days that feel out of control?

Or are you curating what makes it onto your calendar and praying for more days that feel spacious?

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe when someone says they are “so busy” or “too busy” it’s usually code for “[fill in the blank] is not a priority for me right now and I just don’t know how to say that.” And I’ve noticed for some people, their identity seems to be tied to being able to repeatedly recite how busy they are — in the not too distant past I was probably one of those people. I try to be empathetic. Saying “no” is hard. At least it can be for me.

So when I read “curating what makes it onto your calendar” I immediately wanted to dive more deeply into what that might mean.

Curating is such a buzzword these days. It’s almost cliché. Except that in this instance I think it’s the exact right word to use.

(I’m going to do that overused, slightly irritating thing here were I provide the definition of curate as a way to transition into my next thought.)

Curate (v): To take charge of (a museum) or organize (a photography exhibit). dictionary.com

Our life is ours to take charge of, or curate. Why is it so many of us, myself included sometimes, allow others to suggest, manipulate and/or dictate how we spend our time? And why is it we feel guilty about that, as though we need to apologize for the fact we can’t fit it all in when, if we’re being honest, some of what’s currently on our calendar isn’t what we really want to do anyway?

Curate (read: take charge of) your life. When we really are too busy doing things we want to do, let’s stop apologizing for not being able to fit in one more thing. Let’s stop using “I’m too busy” as an excuse to avoid owning up to how it is we really want to spend our time. Let’s make space for that by crowding out all the stuff that really isn’t a priority.

If I were a betting woman I’d put money on the idea that just by being more mindful of curating our life we’d stop having to say “I’m too busy”  to the people and experiences that  truly are a priority.

Link to Kate Northrup’s full blog post here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Unplanned Themes

Full disclosure: The newsletter comes together each week because I bookmark everything I come across on the internet. There’s never any planning as to how it will come together, or what will be included, right up until the minute I open my “bookmarks” folder in Google Chrome and click on what looks good right then and there.

So find it fascinating when an issue like today’s comes together.

Late last week I stumbled upon Escape From The Internet, by Virginia Sole-Smith, about the owners of the blog Young House Love. I read that particular blog infrequently. Although, I do remember the rather intense dust-up when they announced they were shuttering it in 2014. So the behind-the-scenes read on what led up to the decision promised to be interesting.

What I got was so much more than I expected, both as someone with a blog and someone who spends quite a bit of time reading the blogs of others (Seriously. It’s built into my Sunday morning schedule.) On it’s surface, it’s about the struggle to determine what we owe our readers.

Factor in the unintended consequences of building a career around the details we’ve decided to share, the reality that what we share never really gives readers a complete understanding of who we truly are, even though said reader may think of us as their “friend”, with all that entitles simply because they spend so much time (albeit online, behind a computer screen) with us and ta-da! As they say in the article, the lines between blogger, customer and best friend get very fuzzy.

Examining it from the other side, that of the reader, is no less complicated. Some of the anecdotes shared in the story, mostly comments from readers, were disappointing at the very least.

“You make big bucks from this blog and IT’S YOUR JOB.”

“I bought you your house.”

I’m not a commenter and I have more than a few reservations about comments in general. What makes people so brave, and often so mean, when safely sheltered behind some sort of computer screen? Well, apparently there’s a lot that goes into answering that question.

We Are Hopelessly Hooked by Jacob Weisberg points out that in our “always on” society, where the bulk of us check our phones an average of every 4.3 minutes, we’re truly never alone anymore. Solitude is what allows us to see each other as separate, as independent. A point quite possibly proved by Mike Murphy’s article (and subsequent “test“) suggesting that Facebook has decreased our six degrees of separation to roughly 3.57 degrees.

All of which contributes to a loss in our ability to empathize with others.

At some point during the previous week, I came across a Brain Pickings post on David Foster Wallace and was reminded of his commencement speech to Kenyon College in 2005, which I frequently play on on loop in the background while I’m working, hoping to retaining the wisdom of it through osmosis. Being accidentally exposed to that that video again, after having read all of the above somehow seemed fated.

That’s also about the time it occurred to me that this particular newsletter is about more than sharing trends in the industry, tools to make us all better entrepreneurs, and goofy stuff that might, for a second, provide a much needed break in our jam-packed days.

As my clients will attest, I’m a big believer (some would say nag) that we don’t depend exclusively our platforms to communicate with our clients. Offline interactions will always matter more than most anything we do online, because that’s where the real people live.

Be kind.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved
cross posted to Irish Yoga Chick

Voting

updated July 27, 2016
originally posted February 15, 2016

Alright my friends, the right to vote is becoming more and more complicated and by extension, more and more ridiculous. Here’s an update:

Voting is becoming more and more a function of each state’s Voter ID laws. And voter ID laws consistently include such severely limited acceptable forms of ID that it disenfranchises thousands of legally registered voters (Kansas, anyone?). Be advised, rarely are voter ID laws really about fraud. The ACLU’s statement here, PBS Frontline article here, and Probublica article here.

More importantly – A legally registered 93-year old woman’s difficulties explained here, a 66-year old man’s difficulties recounted here, and, particularly infuriating, a 53-year old veteran’s story documented here.

Kansas has become particularly nightmarish, in my humble opinion. There’s an ongoing push to to force new Kansas voters to produce a passport, a birth certificate or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship in order to vote. Please note, Federal Judge Julie Robinson “found that between 1995 and 2013, there were only three instances in Kansas when noncitizens had voted.” 

It is unclear what happens to Kansas voters who were registered prior to Jan. 1, 2013, when the new ID requirements took effect. The Kansas Secretary of State’s office website indicates that “if you are a new Kansas voter on and after January 1, 2013, [you must] include your U.S. citizenship document [with your application to register].” Common sense would say that those voters legally registered before Jan 1, 2013 are not required to produce a birth certificate, a passport or naturalization documents. However, common sense seems to have become the equivalent of a unicorn, especially in Kansas.

 KCUR, a local NPR station, is doing a phenomenal job of keeping up with it all. Their primer is here.

Remember when I mentioned Texas in my original post below? Turns out making it almost impossible to vote does have consequences.  The voter ID law in Texas has been ruled in violation of the Voting Rights Act“We cannot ignore that in passing SB 14, the Legislature carefully selected the types of IDs that would be required to vote,” Judge Catharina Haynes wrote for the court’s majority. “In doing so, the Legislature selected IDs that minorities disproportionately do not possess and excluded IDs that minorities possess in greater numbers, without providing sufficient justification for those choices.”

Over in Missouri, Governor Nixon has vetoed the photo id voting requirement. It’s not over yet, though. Missouri voters will now decide in November whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow for a photo ID requirement for voting. Background here.

Remember, wherever you vote, provisional ballots are an option for all but seven states. Essentially, a provisional ballot can be used whenever there’s a question about a voter’s eligibility. And many states have made it ridiculously easy to question a voter’s eligibility. The county clerk’s offices in each state have as many as two weeks to determine the registration status of each provisional ballot. So, to answer the obvious question — do provisional ballots get counted? Yes. Eventually.

Here’s the Kansas plan for provisional balloting. It’ a short read. And scary. The reason the state can “throw out  all of the votes for state and local races cast by the thousands of voters who register to vote at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of citizenship” is because The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (the Motor Voter law) allows people to register to vote at DMV’s without having to produce the passport, a birth certificate, or naturalization papers Kansas wants to require. It’s legal. The state of Kansas, however, doesn’t want it to be (see above), and they plan to follow their state’s proposed addendum to count ballots for state and local races instead.

Bottom line, do your homework. Now. Physically go down to your Board of Elections (no calling, no looking up registrations online) and make them tell you you are eligible to vote. Then, be prepared to have to defend your right anyway. The Non-partisan Election Protection Coalition can help.

Then, as I’ve mentioned before (see below), share what you know. Check in with someone you know who is elderly, disabled, or anyone who might have problems obtaining a driver’s license or birth certificate and offer to help them exercise their right to vote.

_____________________

After the death this weekend of Justice Antonin Scalia maybe you’re thinking I’m about to write a political piece on my candidate of choice, making a compelling (or not, depending on whether you agree with me) statement about why “my” candidate is the best for our country etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I’m not.

I am going to tell you I’m passionate about voting, for whichever candidate you choose, and I’m going to remind you to get registered, or check your registration to make sure you’re current. To check the voting laws in your state — some states are making voting less of a right and more of a privilege — and to be prepared to take with you whatever form of identification so you won’t be turned away at the polls. I’m also going to remind you to do your part to make voting easier for everyone around you. I wrote a post about doing just that here.

A reminder to get registered in February might seem a bit premature. Except that most states have presidential primaries between March and May (hey Kansas, your legislature is working to do away with primary voting because of the cost. The state has cancelled presidential primaries going back 2o years and this year’s doesn’t appear to be guaranteed). The Federal Voting Assistance Program has a handy chart listing the dates of all primaries across the country. Missouri’s primary is March 15th and voters must be registered to vote by February 17th.

After determining the date of the presidential primary, we head on over to our Secretary of State’s website. This is where we should be able to check our registration status and find out what else we need in order to cast our vote. In Missouri, checking your registration status works like this. In Kansas, it works like this, and in Minnesota it works like this

Next, we’re off to see what we need to take with us to the polls in order to actually be able to cast our ballot. Here’s where it gets tricky. In Missouri, the requirements are pretty straightforward, even including a visual of acceptable forms of ID.  Arizona, not so much. Mix and match? Seriously? Kentucky is even worse. After 10 minutes of searching “voting acceptable forms of id Kentucky” and “voter ID Kentucky”  this is the closest I got – a brochure printed in 2014. This site is pretty sobering. If the details outlined are up-to-date, there are some state governments whose intent seems to be to make it virtually impossible to vote (Texas, we’re looking at you). If you’re using this site, confirm any information you get with a phone call to your Secretary of State’s Office, just to be sure. In my case, I’m not above printing out a screen shot of my voter registration status and taking it with me to the polls, along with a utility bill proving residency AND my state issued Driver’s license. In today’s political climate I’m not about to stand in line for hours only to be told I don’t have the right form of ID.

Sample ballots can be obtained, sometimes. In Missouri for example, there are county boards of elections. In North Carolina, the sample ballots are posted by the State Board Of Elections.

From there, it’s all about making our choice. Non-partisan websites including FactCheck.org,  VoteSmart.Org, Rock The Vote, and the League of Women Voters can provide a wealth of useful information.

And finally, my plea to you is to share what you know. Voting isn’t always easy, even for those of us without additional considerations. So share what you know about voter registration where you live, offer to drive someone to the polls, take a couple of minutes to talk voting with someone who will be voting for the very first time. And most importantly (to me) when you come across someone who has trouble reading, offer to review the ballot with them. Read about ways to help here.

Across the country, voting is being legislated into less of a right and more of a privilege. Do your homework and make sure you know the voting laws in your state and head out to vote prepared.  The bottom line is this: The more you want to know casting your vote in your state the more work you have to do. Which is why it’s crucial we don’t ever become apathetic. The harder it is to vote the more critical it is to vote. Taking a right away from people who don’t use it it much easier than wrenching it away from people who do.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved
crossposted to IrishYogaChick.com

 

Vanity Metrics

Yesterday, I received a lovely message from Hootsuite indicating they were removing Klout integration from their dashboard.

Vanity Metrics. That’s what this is. An algorithm that allows a platform to determine social media “influencers.” Usually measured by clicks, shares and other arbitrary online actions.

From Klout’s Website:

The majority of the signals used to calculate the Klout Score are derived from combinations of attributes, such as the ratio of reactions you generate compared to the amount of content you share.

Attributes. Ratio. Reactions. All very sterile data easily manipulated by a third-party platform that doesn’t know you and has no vested interest in your success. None.

It’s the same with “likes” on Facebook pages. I’m regularly approached by potential clients whose main goal is to increase “likes” on their Facebook pages and friends on their Twitter, Periscope and Instagram feeds. To them it’s all about the perception of numbers.

Here’s my question: Do those high Klout scores cause more people to buy your latest book? Do those Facebook “likes” translate into tangible registrations for your next big event? Do your Twitter / Periscope / Instgram friends book you to shoot their next headshot package? A Klout Score of 95 “looks” good. A Facebook page with 5,000 likes “looks” good. An honest relationship with the 50 friends on  your Facebook page you truly know and authentically engage on a regular basis results in loyalty, revenue and referrals.

That’s how to become at true influencer.

My advice? Stay away from Vanity metrics that tell you very little, if anything. Spend your precious time connecting with real people in real ways that produce real results, for you and for them. “Looking” good isn’t everything.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved