Friday, October 2, 2015

TWITTER!  Follow me on Twitter!  Do you want to know when my next post is published?  Here is a simple way to be notified!

Speaking of Twitter, what is it?  
I have been resistant to Twitter.  As techno-savvy as I am, I had formulated a bad opinion of the service initially.  The first time I signed up for a personal account several years ago, I was asked to follow people and it appeared that I had no alternative, but to check Twitter's suggestions.  Then I was attacked with twitter messages that I could care less about.  Also Twitter constantly suggested people and groups they thought I would like to follow.  I was getting less posts from people I cared about and more posts on who I should follow.  Finally, I expected tweets to be delivered directly to me via texts, but this did not happen so I figured I had done something wrong when I signed up.

Recently I gave Twitter another chance because I missed an important real-time announcement my public school tweeted.  How can so many people like Twitter and I am so resistant to the service?  How can other people find it intuitive and easy and I don't?  I can build complicated websites, collect online payments and data and yet I can't seem to understand Twitter.  What is wrong with me?  Running 3 school websites, blogging and socially marketing events, activities and programs, I decided it was time to let go of my bias.  So I did some research.  Ughh why is it so complicated to me?  

First and foremost Twitter is not a texting service!  You will not be updated when you receive a tweet.  You must physically enter the Twitter app to view current tweets, respond to tweets and submit tweets.  Twitter is not Remind 101, a great texting service that reminds your troops about meetings or keeps your troop(s) aware of local activities.  These 2 apps are very different and serve their own purpose.  Twitter followers MUST choose to follow you, but you can follow anyone for the most part.  There are private messages and closed groups, but for the most part Twitter is designed to share.... EVERYTHING.  Some people are narcissist tweeters.  They tweet everything... "Just washed my car, cute guy took my money."  "Finished packing lunch for girls, homemade sushi."  "Just took a shower after 5 days and used new shampoo, it smells great."  Say what?  You get my point.

So here is my personal synopsis of Twitter... either you like it or you don't.  You are either a Twitter Fan or You are Not!  Personally I like Facebook if I am going to spend a few minutes browsing, it seems more user friendly.  However, I know everyone is different and I know all social media connects.  You can connect with people and move them to different forms of media like websites, facebook, twitter, Remind 101, email, Constant Contact and you don't know what other people prefer.  In order to reach as many people as possible it is important to use ALL forms of social media to promote the news, your business, your blog, your organization or yourself. 

Why use Twitter?

Great uses for businesses:
  •     Advertising
  •     Staying in touch with Customers
  •     Pointing them to other forms of social media
  •     Contests
  •     New releases

  • keep members connected, aware of changes, announce events and awards etc

Personal Use - Microblogging
  •     Similar to Instagram (Adult version) with or without the photos
  •     Facebook for Texting to keep in contact with long distance friends or family
        less commitment to text details since you are limited by the number of characters you can text

Job Opportunities
  •     Announce to the world you are seeking a job and many companies post openings

Keep up with News
  •     From school to community to local to national news stay on top of current conditions in             real time
  •     Small bits of information, but allows you to research further if it interests you

  •     Be alerted to bad weather or travel conditions
Tell me about your experience with Twitter.  Share with other readers why you like it or don't like it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ink, Ink, Ink!

If you are a busy leader like me you probably find it's easier to print out flyers, notes, worksheets, coloring pages, hand-outs, song sheets... you name it, on your personal printer than it is to go to Staples and have it xeroxed!  It comes down to convenience and well in my case sometimes... procrastination!  However, this bleeds my printer cartridges dry!  It feels like I am always replacing my ink!  This can be quite an investment over time.  I have experimented with various recycling companies and actually settled on Costco for the most part.  I liked the fact they simply refill and re-use my old cartridges at a much lower cost than new.  However, I have found a new company I know all my followers are going to love so I am anxious to share this tip!  Next time try LD Products.  The only requirement is you have a little forethought in the process because it does take 3-5 days to receive your shipment.   You will find the wait is well worth it and for the price, I will happily purchase more ink when I get low.  I got 12 cartridges in total: 4 colors x2 and 4 blacks (2 large and 2 small) for $50!!!!  Brand spanking new, all  neatly packed in a nice box, vacuum sealed  and shipped to my doorstep.  12 cartridges at Costco would have cost me well over $100 and new at Staples probably $150!

Plus this company runs a 10% sale often so you can avoid shipping costs as well.   If you need ink now, please use the coupon code SAVE2DAY or SHIP.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cadettes Comparison Shopping Badge: Wal-Mart Scavenger Hunt

It's important to me as the girls age to apply the badges to real world scenarios.  I try and introduce them to careers and concepts that will help them in college and beyond.  This can be a challenge at times, but well worth the added effort.

Sunday the girls enjoyed a scavenger hunt at Wal-Mart.  This idea is not a new one, many student groups and birthday parties have been centered around scavenger hunts at Wal-Mart.  I had hoped I could find a fun scavenger hunt online that would entertain the girls, but found most of the ideas online were merely a hunt for miscellaneous items in the store.  So I had to invest some time to make this a meaningful event for the girls.

I met the girls in the McDonalds at our local Wal-Mart.  They enjoyed lunch while I introduced the topic of Comparison Shopping.  We talked about coupons, name brands vs. generic, what items are taxed and for how much, how apps and discount promo codes can benefit the online shopper, ebate sites and unit pricing.  This was our first meeting of the year and I felt the troop was a bit apathetic and lethargic.  The looks on their faces was "this is going to be boring!"  I had to continue to refocus their attention.  I reminded them that the information I was providing was truly going to help them on their hunt.

I have 9 Cadettes so I grouped them in teams of 3.  I tasked them first with finding a team mascot and sent them out into the store to be creative.  The "Onsie Squad" dressed up in adult onesie pajamas and had a store clerk take a photo.  The "Get Shrek'd" team took a photo of a video cover with Shrek. And the "Most Awesome Team on Earth" was a photo  of a blow up pumpkin.  To add a competitive drive to the scavenger hunt I agreed to buy the team completing the most tasks  an ice cream cone from McDonald's.

Next, I assigned each team a warm-up exercise which required them to find the lowest price on an item in the store: Motrin, Cheerios, Strawberry Yogurt and Deodorant.  This took some thought because these items have lots of brands, choices and prices.  The girls had to realize that Motrin can be named Ibuprofen or Advil during their comparison in order to find the best price.  And the girls needed to compare spray and roll on deodorant.  I did not have the girls collect all the items in a basket, I felt this would be too time consuming and they would have to put it ALL back, so instead the girls were asked to take a picture of the item and the price tag. 

Following the warm-up the game officially began.  I printed each task on an index card.  I gave each team a different task.  They needed to complete the task, report back to me for critiquing and then get another card/task.  They had an hour and a half to do as many challenges as possible to win.
Each Team was given 1 of 10 real-world scenarios (on an index card) and asked to find the best deal they could, given the budget they were given.  Some of the tasks included coupons (paper-clipped to the index card) that they could use if it proved to be the best price  (sometimes the coupon was not beneficial).  I tried to create scenarios that sent them throughout the store, from one area to another.  I also encouraged them to think outside the box and use some of the savvy shopping information I shared with them.  They received bonus points if they could figure out what items were taxed and how much it would affect the overall price.  Once the team completed the task they had to report back to me and tell me how much they spent and I would critique their finds and make suggestions like: "Did you ever think to look for an inexpensive plastic bowl from kitchenware, rather than a real dog bowl?  Would that have been cheaper?"   It was really interesting to watch the girls improve with each task.  Sometimes I would hand them the card and they would say, "There is no way possible I can buy all this stuff with so little money."  And then they would return surprised that they had $10 left over!
 I will share one task so you can see how the girls worked:
You have school pictures tomorrow and need the following make-up items, any brand: foundation or concealer, powder, light pink eye shadow, mascara, blue eyeliner and lipstick. Can you buy everything you need for $21? Also your Mom gives you $15 and tells you to buy a hair dryer for her and you can keep the change (if any).

The girls were given 2 coupons on this task:  $2 off any Maybelline NY Mascara
$2 off Maybelline NY foundation
The girls found all the make-up items for $18 and change. The cheapest in-store hairdryer they could find was $13.97, but they wanted to save even more. So they found a hairdryer for $9.97 online and said they would plan to have it shipped to the store for free, since the task did not indicate that Mom needed it TODAY.   (Ahhhh smart, I like it!)  Plus they said if money was not a factor they would go back and upgrade some of their choices and spend all of the left-over cash. :-)

CLICK HERE for the Coupon pdf
CLICK HERE for Coupon 2 pdf
CLICK HERE for Texas Non-Taxable Items pdf
CLICK HERE for Texas Non-Taxable Items 2 pdf