Monthly Archives: September 2008

No Gas in Atlanta

This is crazy. We spent half of our day today worried about getting gas in Atlanta. Here is a neat real time Twitter feed with Atlanta people posting the status of gas stations in the area. 11alive.com NBC Atlanta news is also posting a message board.

Twitter ATLGAS feed (posted on the AJC.com)

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23atlgas Find gas in Atlanta
If you Twitter, use #ATLGAS with your tweets about Atlanta gas. 

(What’s Twitter? Go to www.twitter.com to set up a free account. Find and follow people with similar interests and post where you see gas with #atlgas! It’s addicting.)

Here is the article explaining how #ATLGAS began on Twitter from its creator, Tessa Horehled, with lots of other gas conservation tips for us in GA and the rest of the US. http://tessahorehled.com/

11 Alive gas updates

http://www.11alive.com/money/consumer/gas_prices/gasmap_search.aspx?appSession=647344054191098

Google maps also has a posting but it’s more outdated – all of these site are only valuable if more people would post gas sightings. So far Twitter is the best source for real time info.

Good luck! I hope we see relief this week.

Five Public Relations Tips for Small Businesses in a Down Economy

I was thinking about small businesses and how they are especially hit hard in a down economy. I wanted to post some tips that you can do for free that will help continue your business building efforts even in a recession.

1) Get local with search. – Make sure your company is listed in Google and Yahoo local directories. They are free and you can even link to your web site.

2) Get local in business/service directories – with directories like Angie’s List and CitySearch popping up, be sure your company is listed in the relevant local directories. Be sure to ask customers to write a recommendation for your company as well.

3) Build a local media list at smaller newspapers and start a relationship. Offer advice, take a reporter to lunch. Local media is easier to reach and if you are doing neat things with the community, be sure they know about it. Having an event for charity? Send a media advisory.

4) Remember your employees. PR isn’t all about outside relations – make sure your employees are motivated and happy. You can reward them with small things like praise (employee of the month/quarter), pizza in the office for a job well done, etc.

5) Discover social media. Start a blog on WordPress and talk about your industry, not just the company. Give tips, advice, general observations. Sign up for Twitter, a microblogging site, and follow people that interest you and join the conversation. Create an account in LinkedIn and Facebook and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. You can even ask business questions in LinkedIn and answer others’ questions and be seen as an expert in your field.

6) Okay, I said five but here’s a bonus tip. Sign up for Help A Reporter.com‘s newsletter and get PR queries from journalists looking for sources. But be sure if you answer, that your pitch is on target, short and sweet and do not send attachments. Include contact info in your email and links if needed.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Moms who Tweet. Sweet.

I just discovered Twitter a few weeks ago on my journey of web 2.0 and social media self-education. At first I was like, WTF? But now that I have found interesting people to follow, it is addicting! I follow PR and marketing industry leaders, social media pros, local atlanta people, journalists and media, moms, you name it!

This week I discovered Twittermoms.com and joined this communitiy as well. It is for moms who Twitter to come together and share ideas, give advice and support each other in our daily battles to balance work, family, coupletime and life in general.

All of this is a bit overwhelming and most of my friends (and our IT guys at work) don’t yet know about Twitter. So I feel like I’m in on this cool secre. There is this whole twitterverse out there waiting for you to discover it. Sign up for free and join the conversation! Follow people based on your hobbies, industry, location, sports teams, the list goes on.

Twitter on!

Twitter – microblogging site – just answer “what are you doing?”

Twhirl – the tool I use to follow tweets, search posts and find and follow people.

Twittermoms Shows Why Twitter Needs Groups – TechCrunch article

Twittermoms – Group of twittering moms

Employers who don’t tell the whole truth when interviewing

After a few weeks of meetings and interviews, my sister was wooed away from her current job back to her older company. She is now discovering that topics they discussed in the interview were not covered as honestly as they should have. Now that she is there and seeing just what a mess the company is, especially after a merger, what can she do? What are her rights? I am curious to know how often this occurs in the US and why companies can get away with lies and half-truths in interviews.

This has also happened repeatedly at my office. People are told one thing, and they arrive and discover that in fact that was not true.

There oughta be a law.

Peanut free snacks and companies who make them

As a result of online research, here are some companies that have peanut-free products. As always, read the labels to be sure.

Dare Foods (even have a no peanut symbol on packaging)
http://www.darefoods.com/usa-en/nutrition_centre/peanut_free/index.shtml

Divvies
http://www.divvies.com/

Enjoy Life
http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/ (has a store locator where you can buy their products)
allergy friendly, free of 8 common food allergens

Another list – again, be careful and read the labels.
http://www.avoidingmilkprotein.com/otherallergies.htm

Target carries SunButter and I.M. Healthy Soynut Butter and we have replaced our peanut butter with it. It tastes great.

Also, sign up for ingredient notices on the FAAN web site:
http://www.foodallergy.org/ingredients.html

Here is a new web site that I have discovered:

Snack Safely is my go-to list and it is updated frequently. Again, always read the label and call if you have questions.

Good luck and I will update as I find them.

Tips for Visiting Disney on a Budget

I married into a Disney family. My father in law is a member of the Disney Vacation Club and we have been fortunate to be able to stay at the Old Key West resort for many years. We like to visit Disney a few times a year if we are lucky. We have found ways to see some sights on a budget and I’d like to share some with you. I just sent this to a friend whose family member is going for the first time. I hope it helps!

Some tips:
1) Pick up Disney toys/stuffed animals/clothes at Wal-Mart before trip and hide them/bring out during trip.
2) Bring snacks into the parks – we brought cereal bars, raisins, etc. They check your bag but it’s allowed.
3) Take the monorail around to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary resorts and walk around each resort to see each theme.
4) Ask to ride the front of the monorail and kids get a monorail operator license!
5) Eat at Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney – great sandwich, low cost – they even have breakfast.
6) Walk on Disney’s boardwalk – it’s just like New Jersey and there are carnival games, etc. Restaurants, a bakery, ESPN zone, a boat ride, you name it! You can see the fireworks at Epcot here too.
7) Make a reservation for character dining and make it the end of the brunch time around 11 – 11:30 before it ends. You have more time for characters and less people by then. (our favorite place is at the Contemporary – Chef Mickey’s)
8) You can get a mini-fridge and stay at the Pop Century or All-Star resort and you can take the bus to the parks.
9) See the characters at the Epcot Character Spot – they are all lined up inside the building and if you go early, there is little wait time.

10) Go “around the world” at Epcot:
– we like to eat at the Rose & Crown in England – make advance reservations – good kids menu,
– pick out an oyster in Japan and get a pearl – under $20 – our girls LOVE this
– sample foods from different countries (cheese plate in France), watch shows
– log flume ride in Norway (a little dark/scary for younger kids – Vikings)
– so much more!

Happy trails!

Share

Candles with Meaning – Buy in September and 15% goes to Kids with Food Allergies

I just read about this candle company in a food allergy newsletter. I am going to try it out and knowing that 15% will go towards Kids with Food Allergies makes it even better. It’s a safer way to burn candles with no soot so if you have kids, this is a nice alternative to traditional candles.

My daughter has a peanut and egg allergy and I am learning all I can about children and food allergies.

Candles with Meaning

http://www.candleswithmeaning.com/

Candles With Meaning offers wickless, flameless candles. The candles use a ceramic warmer that melts wax using a 25 watt bulb. 15% of your order will be donated to Kids With Food Allergies.