You and Facebook?

facebook-iconCan you remember the days when we didn’t have Facebook? I’m in my early thirties, so I certainly do…yet I realize, as the years go by, there’s upcoming generations that don’t know a time without the powerful online social network. Do you like Facebook? It’s use is not limited to just personal profiles anymore. For some time now, it’s a powerful tool for business as well. What’s your interaction with FB? Personal? Business? Maybe it’s both… Continue reading

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Pros and Cons of Social Media

Over the past month I’ve been meeting a lot of new wonderful people throughout Italy and Switzerland and what I am finding to be the most common topic in discussion is social media. Not just social media though in the way that Americans think of Social Media, but more specifically how social media is affecting our societies and the way that we communicate and have relationships. People are looking pretty deeply into these matters and I’m glad to see that.

My experience with social media is a bit different and more full-time than others – I do it for work and have always been more interested in how it makes a good business for me rather than going overboard on it in the personal sense. On the personal side it never interested me as much, but I used it and do so more now. Overall, you could probably say that I am an average or medium user in my personal life. The professional life is where it comes into major play and that is because I work for myself as a consultant and manager of social media marketing for businesses. Why? Because I’m fascinated by the combination of marketing and understanding people who it involves. And it enables me to work from literally anywhere in the world, as long as I have an internet connection of course, which now-a-days is amazingly in most places.

Throughout Europe, people refer to this kind of work and service as Internet Marketing. Makes sense. Even among those of my generation (which, to give away my age, is currently at the age of late 20’s into mid-30’s), the consensus I am hearing from people is that on the personal and social side it is having negative affect and is harming our societies. I tend to agree and am seeing in different countries and cultures that concerns about people having good communication skills is being impacted by our obsession with social media. Rather than being able to sit and enjoy silence or simply be still, people are constantly on a device, texting or emailing, but hardly calling anymore and speaking voice to voice. Or for that matter, we are seeing more and more how people will be together at any number of occasions such as a show or even a date, and rather than talking to each other, they’re each on their phones messaging, checking into Facebook about who they’re with and where they are…what about simply being fully present and enjoying where you are and who you’re with?

Now I take part in these things as well, yet am recognizing and wanting to call out for myself that I want to maintain a balance and make sure that I’m keeping my interactions more human than media-based. Perhaps along with social media we should keep in mind social humanity too? There’s a lot of play on words that we could use to keep the reminder in front of us that our societies should be aware and careful and protect and practice true social interaction that is completely based on the most authentic and powerful ways of interacting within society…and those are interactions that are verbal and face-to-face. Let’s not lose the significance of body language, tone of voice, and so many other things that are simply not possible through social media.

I am liking the awareness and concerns that Europeans seem to be having about this and contribute their insight to their culture that is steeped in much older history and cultures that are also geographically closer. There’s endless factors that we could analyze, but I hope I am getting my point across without using even more words. Besides, I would love to hear your thoughts…preferably verbally or face-to-face of course. So give a call or come visit! Skype ID: amalia.maloney

What Questions Would You Have About…

Starting your own business?

What questions would come to your mind if you were considering working for yourself? I may be in a corporate job currently, but at one time I had my own small business. I am finding that people, friends and strangers alike, are coming to me with questions about starting their own business. I want to provide them with more than just my insight – I want to gather a collection of questions that people have about starting their own business. That is where you can come into the picture, regardless of whether you are considering your own business. Send me your questions about starting your own business (use the “leave a reply” form below to send me your comments or email me at amalia4482@gmail.com). Make sure to note what kind of business it would be: for example, service or product oriented, food or retail, and so forth. And don’t limit yourself – think big and tell me about what business you would start if you could start any business of your own today, no limitations.

What I find fascinating, is that the best way to answer questions is by asking questions. Ultimately, the really important answers to questions about starting your own business, need to come from yourself (I’m pretty sure that this also applies to most aspects of life). It’s just a matter of asking yourself, or having someone else ask you, questions. There are a lot of different types of questions that need to be asked when starting your own business and the most important ones to start with are what I like to call the “driver” questions. They embody the passion and values that drive someone to have their own business. This is the most important phase of starting a business and it is crucial to keep it as your focus as you move forward. These questions will vary according to each person and there are no right or wrong questions and no right or wrong answers. We can have fun with it. For example, would you want your business to sell a service or product that you are passionate about? Or can the service or product be anything as long as the business supports your quality of life and values that you want to be living? Or perhaps you want your business to embody both? Asking these questions can show a person that you can “earn money doing what you love” and you can also “earn money to do what you love”.

Then there are “building material” questions. The answers to these questions are the practical action steps for starting your own business – they start to bring about life and form to your drivers. These are along the lines of organizational structure, partners or no partners, internet-based or office-based, overhead costs for materials, registering licenses, and on and on…this may seem like the least fun part of starting your own business, yet if you have come to your answers of the “driver” questions, your motivation will make this part entirely worthwhile.

Overall, I recommend that understanding your passions and life-values is the key place to start. That may seem overwhelming for some people since life changes and if you’re like me, you can’t imagine planning for even 1 year down the road, much less 5 years or more. But that’s okay. The best businesses out there are made to adapt and change, whether that is due to economies or due to a shift in your passions and values. Businesses are not set in stone and neither are you. Hmmmm, maybe that’s why some people want to start their own business? There’s a good question.