Thursday, June 26, 2008

Social Media: Helping Others on a Global Platform

Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – are internet platforms, I’ve learned, that fit with my personality. I’ve been listening to several free teleseminars this week about using the internet for business purposes. One main theme is that you have to give and give before you get.

What does this mean? Simply that you have to interact with the social media communities of which you’re a part, be genuine, and give away valuable information. Eventually, as Mary Pat Kavanagh of says, people will do business with you because people do business with people they know, like and trust.

This is great for me because I always love to give people information. If I learn of something and I know someone who would be especially interested in that piece of information, I call or email the person. I truly believe that we should all try to help each other without waiting to be asked.

I admit this attitude can cause friction with my husband. If I pass someone on the street in Beverly Hills looking at a map, I’ll stop and ask if the person needs help. My husband will complain that I’m interfering – the person didn’t ask for help. But how many of us are uncomfortable asking for help, especially from a stranger?

What I always try to bear in mind is: What would I want to happen if I were the one standing there with the map? Of course I’d want someone to volunteer to help me.

Natural Information Provider

That’s why this expectation in social media of giving is so right for my personality – I’m a natural information provider.

And I’ve been on a personal intensive quest for the last few months to learn as much as possible about internet marketing. The quest started in connection with promoting my new book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL. Now the quest has continued in preparation for promoting the material I’ve written as part of my FLIPPING BURGERS AND BEYOND philosophy for teens and young adults.

In the meantime, I’m always happy to answer questions about internet marketing. The internet world is so huge that there’s room for all of us. No need to keep our information to ourselves – we can all put our information out there to help others.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MONGOL the Movie: Everything about Genghis Khan’s Early Years You Never Wanted to Know and Wish You Hadn’t

Okay, maybe if I had known MONGOL’s British subtitle ahead of time – The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan – I might have had an inkling of what was in store. As it was, the movie began when Temudjin (who would grow up to be GK -- the head khan) was nine and his father took little Temudjin to pick out a bride.

From then on various near-death experiences await Temudjin throughout the entire movie, with huge patches of years skipped over with no voice over explanation (even though there’s plenty of voice over). And then there’s a final battle scene and we are told that in such-and-such year Temudjin became Genghis Khan.

I’m not against a movie that wants to show us the motivation for a boy growing up to become a conqueror of a large part of the known world. I just wish the motivation was a little clearer. And I wasn’t sure what language was spoken for the entire movie. (Some of the subtitles were a tad too modern.) As there were a lot of scenes of stabbing and blood-gushing, dialogue wasn’t too important.

The mystical scenes were the most baffling of all. For example, one moment little Temudjin has fallen through thin ice to his assumed death and we see him descend into the icy depths. The next moment he’s lying face down on the snow. Did a geyser shoot him up to safety?

Apparently Genghis Khan gave the Mongols some laws to live by, the biggest one being “do not betray your khan.” In Genghis Khan’s day there was no question what would happen to you if you did betray your khan.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Berenstain Bears … and Too Much Online Marketing Information

Remember the children’s book “Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday.” In my family we used to take that expression “too much” and add a different ending.

Tonight, after finally filing over three months of Wall Street Journal articles, reports, ezines, and emails connected with online marketing, I’ve had “too much internet marketing information.”

I have notes for my notes of sites I want to explore –, Flock, Twhirl, Blogher. And this week’s Wall Street Journal had new ones I hadn’t heard of before – Yoono,, FriendFeed. (Where do these names come from – Minggl? What’s wrong with plain Mingle?)

Every time I read the info from one internet marketing guru, he or she directs me to another such guru in a different niche. Talk about Alice down the rabbit hole! I’ve already gotten to the stage of hallucinogenic mushrooms!

Tonight I definitely feel like the intro from my June 16th post:

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask
When she's ten feet tall

“White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane

There was one compensation for my filing spree – I listened to “The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary” while stuffing papers into various file folders. The CD includes my favorite P,P and M song – “Stewball.”

What happened to the paperless world we were promised? If only…

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN – A Surprisingly Good Movie

I’m glad I didn’t say “Bah, humbug” when my younger daughter wanted someone with whom to go see the new Adam Sandler movie YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN.

I went along as a good mother, totally unexcited about the movie. A) I’m not a big Adam Sandler fan. B) I’d seen the movie’s trailer more than once, and the funny bits shown didn’t look that funny.

Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is the BEST movie I’ve seen in months. So much better than IRON MAN and the 4th INDIANA JONES and the newest Narnia adventure – PRINCE CASPIAN.

Yes, ZOHAN is over-the-top humor, and, yes, it’s an improbable story. And yet it is humor that was so true to life – I know several Israelis just like Zohan and his friends. And on another level there was a very poignant message of two sides coming together for the common good.

Actually, I cried at the end of this comedy. And, yes, I do cry easily. Yet this farcical vision of Israelis and Arabs learning to get along on a commercial street in New York – thousands of miles away from fighting each other in the Middle East – was uplifting.

Adam Sandler gets a lot of credit for this success. He wrote this movie with Robert Smigel and Judd Apatow, while Dennis Dugan directed it. All the other actors are terrific, including Mariah Carey playing herself.

PZ the do-gooder Scrooge says thumbs up to YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN. Now if I could only find the movie soundtrack…

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole – Psychedelic Wanderings

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask
When she's ten feet tall

“White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane

On Father’s Day I talk to my father. He describes the accolades he got at the end of the 15 weeks of a senior improv class he “led” at National Lewis University in Chicago. Now he’s gotten approval to “lead” a course about comedy writing using the Brad Schreiber book WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT? HOW TO WRITE FUNNY SCREENPLAYS, STORIES AND MORE.

Then my father, who blogs at, tells me the following “Alice down the rabbit hole” story:

He called the publisher of Brad Schreiber’s book. The phone operator says the book sells for $19.95. My father says he wants to buy multiple copies. The phone operator says, in that case, up to nine copies will get a 44% reduction on the price.

My father asks about buying more than nine books. For 10 and more books there’s only a 20% discount. My father – still a practicing CPA at the age of 83 – says that doesn’t make sense. The phone operator says he knows that. My father asks if he can order nine books one day and more books the next day. The answer? He can order the books on the same day – as long as there are two separate orders – to get the 44% discount.

Thinking over this story reminded me of the time when I was leaving for my freshman year at Michigan State University in the fall of 1966. My father loves music, and he wanted me to have a good record turntable to take with me. We didn’t have a lot of discretionary income, but we saw in the window of the Singer sewing machine store in our small town of Elgin, Illinois, that a good record turntable was being sold at a terrific price.

We went into the store and the clerk said that the price was only for the record turntable in the window. My father said: “We’ll take that one.” The clerk said: “No, we can’t sell you that one. It’s only for the window display.”

I won’t repeat the whole conversation here. Suffice it to say that we walked out of the store with the record turntable from the window at the price advertised in the window. And, of course, the store “retired” that false advertising sign.

I actually thought of that record player only a few days ago in connection with how new bands are discovered. In the summer of 1966 I visited a family in Sausalito, California, and we went to a Jefferson Airplane concert at the University of California, Berkeley.

Although I had never heard of the group, I loved the group’s sound and bought an album. That fall at MSU I played the album on my new record turntable and introduced my dorm hall to the psychedelic rock of the Jefferson Airplane.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tux Shirt Leads to Question of Who Made a Mistake

My husband I go shopping for a tux for him to rent for an upcoming “black tie” family wedding. When we get to the store, we learn that this is the first day of a terrific sale. We buy a tux for the cost of a rental.

Now my husband has his own tux shoes, tie, suspenders and studs. But he does need a new shirt, which he also buys.

When we get home he decides to try on his shirt. He opens the package, looks at the buttons on the shirt, and says: “She sold me the wrong shirt. I can’t use my studs.”

I say: “It’s probably the right shirt. She knew what she was doing. Let me see the shirt and your studs.”

After he explains that a tux shirt only has four studs and then buttons, I look at the first four buttons very carefully. And realize that these buttons are made to be cut off if the shirt owner has studs. These four buttons are even attached on a special strip of cloth to make it easier to cut off the buttons. Voila! He can use his studs with this tux shirt.

Why am I annoyed? I’m annoyed because his reaction, like the reaction of many people, is to assume that someone MADE A MISTAKE. And then we’re angry at that someone.

Instead, we should first consider that the person did NOT make a mistake, and we should try to reconcile this view with the problem at hand. And, then, only after carefully examining the problem at hand and not finding a solution, can we decide that the person possibly made a mistake.

If all of us, including myself, would try not to jump to conclusions, maybe we’d all have less stress in our lives. (And next time you buy a tux shirt, open the package in the store and make sure the shirt is what you want!)

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Do-Gooder Scrooge Says “Bah, Humbug” About Organic Food Program

I’m sitting in synagogue listening to a sermon urging us to participate in a community effort to support (subsidize) local organic farmers. Apparently for this program – I have to pay ahead of time for each growing season, I have to take what gets delivered, and I have to go pick up the whatever each week on a certain day at a nearby location.

And I’m thinking – this is ridiculous! I buy organic fruits and vegetables at a neighborhood store in the same strip mall as my pharmacist. The neighborhood store also sells non-gluten products, which I need. And I don’t have to pay ahead of time or get vegetables I don’t want and in quantities I can’t use.

Oh, yes, the sermon giver said we have to pay a premium for this program, but she said that this is worth it.

I’ll tell you what’s worth it – taking the money I save by not doing this program and instead increasing my donations to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

Never heard of Mazon? Here’s information from the home page of

  • MAZON allocates donations from the Jewish community to prevent and alleviate hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds.

  • Join the tens of thousands of American Jews, and hundreds of synagogues across the United States, in the fight against hunger.

  • MAZON funds emergency food providers, food banks, multi-service organizations and advocacy groups both in this country and abroad.

  • Learn about hunger and the Jewish community’s efforts to find a long-term solution.

I say “bah, humbug” to participating in the community organic food program. I’ll buy my organic fruits and vegetables at a regular store and support Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

My Business Partner Calls Me a Scrooge

My business partner Susie and I are having a lunch/business meeting today when I tell her that I have a problem. I've had a consult with internet marketing expert Mary Pat Kavanagh (, who has told me that I need a "persona" on my social networking profiles. Kavanagh uses her dog and her love of gardening to relate to people on a personal level before they ever consider doing business with her.

"What can be my persona?" I ask Susie. "I'm allergic to gardening; I'm allergic to pets; I don't have anything interesting about me!"

"Yes, you do. You're a scrooge," Susie says. "You're always annoyed at people."

She pauses, then resumes: "You do good things for people but you're still a scrooge. Actually, that's who you are -- a do-gooder scrooge."

Voila! I've just arrived home and have signed up for a new blog. Already having two blogs helps. I know what to do this time around. And I'm giving Susie full credit for the idea for this persona. Of course, she has to "live" with this persona because we work together.

Watch it! Because I'm going to let it rip here -- my pet peeves (including people who don't take my advice), my hates (barbecuing -- don't get me started!), and people who don't respond to a business email from me asap.

Go ahead -- lay it on me. What are your pet peeves?

Leave a comment below. Let's see if yours can top mine.

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