Sunday 15 December 2013

DOGFIGHT - How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

Hardcover | 320 pages | ISBN 9780670067190 | 12 Nov 2013 | Allen Lane Canada

I'm so excited to be participating in Penguin Canada's Star Blogger Holiday Blog Tour! I just received a copy of "Dogfight: How APPLE and GOOGLE Went to War and Started a REVOLUTION" by Fred Vogelstein. 
What could be more exciting than a book that includes suspense, rivalry, betrayal, power struggles, and egos. Most of us know where we currently are as far as tech devices go, but few know how we got here. This non-fiction book documents the corporate rivalry between Apple and Google for dominance in the smartphone market, and the personalities of the major players that drove this rivalry.  On first glance you might think that this is only for the business or technology enthusiasts, but this book has so many exciting insights into the personalities, deals, and alliances involved that it is a recommended read for everyone.  Lets face it most of use smartphones and tablets, and this is about more than which phone you will use, this "revolution" impacts what smartphones are available to buy, content, and what can be done on these devices. Alliances, mergers, and acquisitions, between major players and endless advances in technology have given Apple and Google immense power and control over how we access content and the type of content we will be able to access on the devices we use now and into the foreseeable future. 

Note: I received a copy of Dogfight by Fred Vogelstein for review as a participant in Penguin Canada Star Blogger Campaign. All opinions are my own,


Be sure to check out some other great books that are on my Holiday Gift List for my friends and family!

Dear Life by Alice Munro                                                                         Back to Basics by Michael Smith

Sunday 8 December 2013

Review: omax3 Ultra-Pure Omega3 Supplement

Recently I had the opportunity to try omax3 Ultra-Pure Omega 3 supplement. omax3 was developed by Physicians from Yale University to provide "maximum concentration, and maximum purity". Beside the "brain food" benefits omax3 can "aid in lowering Triglycerides and manage Cholesterol". At my age this is a priority!
Take a minute and check my review on 
KickAss Living Blog. 

Monday 2 December 2013


The other day I tweeted out a question:
I was looking for the whole package, who is the best at online, social media and in store customer interaction, customer service, and engagement. I think it is easy to do a good job at one type of interaction, or customer service in a single arena, such as online, OR in store.  What is a challenge is being great at customer service and engagement in all the arenas. 

This poll is not exactly scientific, but I believe strongly is sharing this type of information with people I know. I want to know if someone has had a great experience or service from a brand. I want to know if I should be following a person, blog or brand on social media.  

I immediately got so many responses. I saw many brands mentioned more than once. I have made a list of the brands mentioned 50 in total, and I hope you go and check them out and find out why they were picked by my tweeps for this list.



I'm Cathy thinking out loud about customer service and engagement.

Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own.

Saturday 23 November 2013


It's November again and Movember Canada fundraisers and participants are busy trying to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues.
 Not surprisingly, our friends at Fatekeep are involved, since Fatekeep is all about social good and giving back. 

(image via
Here are some awesome #FacesOfMovember! Why not support their efforts by donating to their campaigns.
If that wasn't enough Fatekeep is having a giveaway to support their efforts!

I'm Cathy thinking out loud about Movember

Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are completely my own. 

I'm Part of the #YMCCommunity


Cathy Thinking Out Loud is a mix of opinions, knowledge sharing, and blurbs about great products that work for a woman approaching mid-life. Cathy has moved passed the busy messy baby parenting stage into the busy messy teen parenting stage. With that comes a change in focus, rethinking of retirement, finances, relationships, health, and life goals. That thinking is done out loud on Cathy Thinking Out Loud Blog.

Friday 22 November 2013


I often struggle with what to give friends and family that seem to have everything. Here are a few gift ideas you may not have thought of, but that are very thoughtful gifts!

I am loving COZI Family . It is a free calendar and organization app, that you can upgrade to the paid option of COZI GOLD. Great for keeping all the busy family schedules connected and up to date. I especially love the lists function for Groceries, Packing etc. Be sure to visit the Cozi Site for tons of great recipes, meal ideas, and tips on everything from travel to finance. 

NETFLIX CANADA allows you to stream movies and shows to your TV or other devices like a tablet, or phone. Perfect for Snowbird parents, your kids, or for a carpooling Mom who is sitting waiting at yet another game or lesson. You can get a 1 month trial for free, and it is only $7.99 per month for the service should you decide to sign up. You may require a Media Player such as the Roku which can be purchased for under $100.

You can give the gift of personal security to yourself, family and friends by sharing and downloading REACT Mobile free app. This app allows you to share your location with your contacts as well as has an emergency function that prompts a 911 call button.

Another online option I love is ZINIO Digital Magazines. You can get all your favourite magazines delivered right to your inbox. In my case feel free to get me a tablet to read them on too!

Lastly an ereader like a KOBO or a KINDLE is a great gift. The gift of reading in a light weight portable package is at the top of my wish list. There are many books that can be downloaded for free, you can borrow ebooks from your local library, or if you are really lucky you'll get a gift card in your stocking! Its perfect for travelling, and fits in your pocket or purse so you can take it with you where ever you go.
I'm Cathy thinking out loud about Holiday giving.

Note: I have not been compensated in anyway for this post. These are completely my own opinions.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Giving that Costs so Little and Means So Much #GivingBack #TisTheSeason

Free and inexpensive ways to give during the holiday season.

We all have bills, and responsibilities. All of us have to watch our pennies, and budget to make ends meet, but if you're like me you still want to find a way to give back, especially around the holidays. 

I've put together a list of ideas that are either free, or cost very little to give. 

While it may cost so little, it means so much. Not only will you be helping those in need, spreading love and good will, but you'll also be an example to those around you. Who knows who might be inspired; your kids, siblings, co-workers, neighbours, even strangers.
Your local agencies, charities, and shelters are easily located by doing a Google search. 
EG: shelters, donations, Toronto.
  • Donate gently used clothing to a local shelter or mission so it can be distributed to the homeless and those in need. In particular jackets, hats, gloves, socks, boots, blankets, sleeping bags,  knapsacks, and dufflebags. 
  • Recently I've seen several posts about filling purses you no longer use with items like mini-shampoos, soap, kleenex, wipes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, feminine products, etc. and dropping them to homeless shelters.
  • Donate gently used clothes, toys and books to a women's shelter. The coffee and the tea from the hotel room and hotel toiletries are also perfect for someone that is in temporary accommodations. I know this because I called a local women's shelter and asked, but each shelter may be different. Take a minute to call and ask what items a shelter near you needs. 
  • Baby clothes and items can be donated to teen mother organizations and homes. They are always very much appreciated. Remember certain items like car seats have expiry dates and are generally not accepted.
  •  Donate gently used children's snowsuits, hats, mitts, and boots to a Snowsuit Fund or Snowsuit collection in your area. Canadian winters are cold, and no child should go without a warm jacket.
  • Collect the small bottles of shampoo, soap and toiletries from hotel stays, and/or the toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss you get from your dentist. Donate them to a shelter or to a food bank. Sort the items into into small ziplock bags for easy distribution.
  • Children's books your kids no longer use can be donated to a school library. School libraries get very little by way of budgets to buy new or to replace books. Your donations can go a long way. Same goes for magazine subscriptions; Chirp, Chickadee, Skateboarding and Snowboarding Magazines, Popular Science and Mechanic and Canadian Geographic are all popular with students even if they are a year or two old. 
  • Adult novels can be donated to nursing homes or shelters or your local library.
  • If you are donating canned foods to a food drive or food bank make a list watch for sales and use coupons to increase your donation. You can often double the donation by smart purchasing, and who doesn't love a deal! 
  • Give the gift of time. Volunteer in your neighbourhood, a local school, church, seniors home, or charity.  Volunteer Canada
  • Offer to put Christmas lights up for a senior, or if they no longer drive offer to take them grocery shopping, or to an appointment.
  • Bake some cookies or holiday treats and deliver them to someone who has mobility issues and doesn't get out.
  • Shovel the snow for someone! Especially a senior or a Mom with small kids or baby and can't easily get out.
  • Mentor someone: share your skills, talents, and expertise. Help with a resume. Practise interview skills. Tutor a student. 
  • Babysit or Seniorsit and give a tired, overworked caregiver a break. A couple of hours can be so important to managing stress and coping.
There you go! A bunch of ideas for giving that doesn't have to cost a lot of money. 
Tis the season! 
Wishing everyone a joy filled holiday season!

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about giving back.

Monday 18 November 2013

React Mobile: A Proactive APProach To Your Personal Safety! - Free iPhone or Android App

Nobody wants to feel scared, especially in their own home. Robb Monkman, the founder of REACT Mobile, was held at gunpoint during a home invasion while he was in college, and he “REACT”ed by creating a “tool that could be used to silently and discreetly alert a wide network, including authorities, of an emergency and its location”.

The REACT Mobile app allows you to take a proactive approach to your family's personal safety. There are so many perfect “app”lications or should I say App-locations this easy to use, free app would truly not only make you feel safer but actually be safer. You are in control of who your emergency contacts are, and how they will be notified in the case of an emergency. It could be by email, Twitter or Facebook. 

The "Follow Me" feature allows the contacts you select to track your location in real-time. 
The "I'm Safe" button allows you to let your contacts know you have arrived safely at your destination. It is also a perfect way for your kids to let you know they have arrived safely.
 By pressing the "SOS Shield" you “send out a panic alert containing a link to your GPS location” to your emergency contacts. 
By activating the SOS panic alert “you’re automatically prompted to dial 911”. 
In an emergency no one wants to be fumbling with numbers or buttons on their cell phone.

When my children were young, my husband travelled for work and I would have loved the security this app would have given me in the event of a home invasion, or an emergency. I regularly drive by myself, or with the kids to visit family that live out of town. In the event of a breakdown, getting lost, or an emergency the React Mobile app “Follow Me” feature would allow my family at home and at my destination to know I am safe. 

The React Mobile app is perfect for Joggers and Walkers as well. I love to go for walks in the beautiful parks and wooded areas that surround my neighbourhood, but I am always uncomfortable being on my own, and often encounter no one on these walks. I don’t like to walk the same route for safety reasons, but it also means no one knows the route I have taken. With the React Mobile “Follow Me” feature my loved ones would know exactly where I am. Not only would this be great for me but, now that my kids are older, they come and go much more independently. They take the bus or ride their bikes to activities, or to see friends. I can’t remember the number of times I have told them they must keep me informed of where they are, and the number of times they forget to call and let me know their plans have changed and they are actually somewhere completely different. Should there be an emergency I would have no idea where to start to look for them. Plus, let’s face it I could do without spending Friday and Saturdays nights worrying. The “Follow Me” feature would go a long way to help to eliminate that worry.

Isn't it time you took a proactive APProach to your personal safety and checked out:

For more information about React Mobile and their free app visit
Be sure to follow React Mobile on Twitter and Facebook for all their updates and news!

You can download the React Mobile free app for iPhones from iTunes iPhone download
or for select Android phones from Google Play Android phone download

I am Cathy thinking out loud about React Mobile and Personal Safety.

DISCLOSURE: I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Teachable Moment #1: Survival Gifts change the world via Unicef Canada

Thursday 14 November 2013

Girls Getaway Shopping Weekends Makes Me Happy!

Tomorrow I meet my Destiny! My shopping Destiny! 
For the past 15 years my girlfriend and I have gone away two times a year for a weekend without Hubbies or kids. On occasion others have joined us, but most times it is just the two of us. 
For many years now we have gone to Syracuse, New York, and always made a stop at Carousel Mall. Well let me tell you the Mall has been transformed into Destiny USA, and all I can say is WOW! It is bigger and better and new stores are opening all the time in the Outlet "wing" of Destiny USA. I was so excited when I saw this on our trip last June. Mall and Outlet shopping combined into one, plus the WonderWorks will  keep the kids busy while you fulfil your shopping destiny! 

A number of hotels have partnered up with Destiny USA and have Shop & Dine, Shop & Play and Shop & Stay packages.

Be sure to stay tuned to find out about all the deals I found, and the delish treats I had to eat on our shopping weekend!


I am Cathy thinking out loud about Destiny USA

NOTE: I have not been compensated for this post, and this is completely my personal opinion. However when I enquired about freebies and deals Destiny USA was nice enough to provide me with a collection of goodies and coupons.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Estylo Stylus Makes Me Happy

After listening to my complaining about "fat fingers" and touch screen issues with my cell phone my son was nice enough to give me an Estylo Stylus. 
The Estylo can be used with any capacitive touch screen device. It is made of wood and, is both light weight and comfortable to hold. Note that the Estylo is weighted different than a regular pencil, but found it took me very little time to adjust to this. I definitely have more control and precision with the Estylo than with my fingers, and use it with both my phone and my tablet for doodling, and drawing. I love how it looks and, it comes in a variety of colours. The price of the Estylo is $20 US which is comparable to other styluses. My only complaint is that it doesn't come with a carrying case so that it is protected when I put it in my purse. 
I think this would make a great addition to any Gift Guide and recommend you check this out for those with "fat finger" issues in your family.

Image: via
As described by Nyon about the Estylo:
"Estylo is the first and only wooden dual tip magnetic stylus to work on the iPhone, iPad, Android or any touch screen device"

Link to website:
Twitter & Facebook:

So there you go, I'm Cathy thinking out loud about the Estylo stylus.
Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this review. It is completely my own opinion.


Check out these Giant Lego Mini Figure Head Storage Containers. Not only do it keep all the Lego pieces stored away, but it does so in the coolest of ways! Nothing is cooler than Lego mini figures!
I found these at Costco for $28.99.

For some AMAZING Do It Yourself Lego Mini Figure Head Storage Ideas check out:

Thursday 31 October 2013


Do you ever sit there and read or hear something that just makes you fume. It is when you wish the television allowed for two way conversation. You are yelling don't listen to this nonsense to a TV audience that you know can't hear you and probably wouldn't listen if they could. I think this will have to be a series of posts, and will limit myself to a maximum of four this time around. LOL. I am sure at this point you are wondering what I am going on about. Here is an example of what I mean:

Yet one more TV news report about organics foods not being any more nutritious than the non-organic products. NEW FLASH! Organic is about not having toxic chemicals used on the food you eat. If by chance they turn out to be more nutritious that is a bonus. It means not only will the food you eat not kill you, it might be healthy for you as well. If a carrot is a carrot then I would like mine without a side of toxic chemicals please. SO IF YOU ARE GOING TO REPORT ON THE PROS AND CONS OF SOMETHING, DO YOUR RESEARCH AND DO NOT COMPARE APPLES TO ORANGES, ORGANIC OR NOT!

Another example is the regular reporting of links between sugar and hyperactivity and, that ADHD can be treated by eliminating sugar. One study from the 1970's is quoted over and over again as proof, even though this theory has been tested and retested and studies failed to prove that sugar causes hyperactivity. Further more the symptoms we associate with ADHD, are similar to those of many other health issues. There is so much good research and studies about ADHD, and so many health issues, why not use those! REPORT ON HOW STATISTICS AND STUDIES OUT OF CONTEXT AND STUDIES WITH POOR METHODOLOGY MISREPRESENT INFORMATION AND IMPACT PUBLIC OPINION. REPORT ON WHY THIS MAKES RESPONSIBILITY IN REPORTING SO IMPORTANT!

Another thing that makes me want to scream is the myth that the women's movement is over and we are equal now. The belief that maybe there are still issues in other countries, but not in Canada. Feminism is not a bad word and it is a myth that we have achieved equality. There are many women who went before us and sacrificed and paved the way for whatever progress we have made. Without their efforts we would not be "persons" or have the vote, to name a few. If it was true and we no longer need to carry on the fight, then women in politics would not be judged differently then men, and their appearance would never be more important than their policies. LISTEN UP LADIES; IT IS OUR JOB TO REMEMBER AND RESPECT THOSE BEFORE US, AND CONTINUE TO PUSH FOR CHANGE SO THAT THOSE WHO FOLLOW WILL HAVE FAIR TREATMENT AND EQUALITY.

And finally, when credit is not given. Today I watched a show talking about the newly established National Cord Blood Donation Bank. I know this a wonderful thing, I really do, but the new part is the National part. Starting in 1996 a Alberta public donation bank was established. I know because I was this first person from the hospital I delivered my son at to donate my cord blood which had to be shipped to Alberta. In 1997 Ontario opened a public donation bank. So from 1996 until the present women have been donating cord blood. I am not referring to banking for ones private use, I a referring to donating to a public bank. Many of us did not hear about this through doctors, we heard of this by word of mouth from woman to woman. In fact the doctor who delivered my son was actually arguing with me 3 minutes post delivery why I was bothering to donate the cord blood. (Jerk!) It would be nice if the women who have put in the effort to arranged to donate, and share the information with others and care providers since 1996 had been acknowledged. These women did this despite the fact that it involved considerable work, before the ease of the Internet, while pregnant and just after delivering a baby. IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT TO GIVE CREDIT, AND SUCH A LITTLE THING WARMS PEOPLE TO THE CORE AND ENCOURAGES FURTHER SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT AND VOLUNTEERISM.

Okay, there I am done my rant (for now).

Yep, just Cathy thinking out loud about things that drive me crazy. 

Wednesday 30 October 2013

WildRoots TripleBerry Crisp Gluten Free Cereal Makes Me Happy!

This is my very low-tech, non-scientific review of WildRoots TripleBerry Crisp Cereal. I will leave the label reading and the nutrition evaluation to the experts. My roll will be to give you my honest opinion of a cereal I tried for the first time last week. While walking the rows of merchandise in Costco I came across WildRoots TripleBerry Crisp cereal. What caught my eye was the "gluten free" part and the fact that the picture on the box looked good. So I bought a box that included 2 bags totally 750 g for just under $9.00.

I found this cereal to be very tasty and the flakes stayed crisp in milk and did not get soggy after 5 seconds. I hate when the flakes get soggy before you have a chance to eat your cereal. I did not feel like I was settling and giving up taste for the gluten free option. There were lots of berries in the cereal and it looked for once like the picture on the box. I would definitely buy these again, in fact I will need to do that soon since I ate both bags and we are now completely out.
So "two thumbs up" from me for WildRoots TripleBerry Crisp.

For those who need more details I have included the a shot of the Nutrition Label. 

So there you go, I'm Cathy thinking out loud about WildRoots TripleBerry Crisp cereal.

Note: I have not been compensated in anyway for this review. It is completely my own opinion.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Five Days in #WashingtonDC Summer Road Trippin #DC #travel #familytravel

Annual Summer Road Trippin' Time! 

Five Days in DC

My Husband and kids had never been, and the last time I was in DC was on the Grade 13 High School History Trip (aka a LONG time ago). It was a great vacation that was packed with activity everyday! I thought I would share with you why it was great and some of the things there are to do in DC.

Where to stay ...
Loews Madison Hotel:
We decided to stay at down town DC so we could walk to most of the attractions we wanted to see. Any savings we might find from staying outside the city would be lost by the $50 a day packing costs. Instead we booked a deal at the Loews Madison Hotel that included room, valet parking, and "bonus" 2 cocktails each day for $199 US a night. A gin and tonic goes down nice after walking on average 10 miles a day in 30 degree weather. This was a beautiful hotel in walking distance of most of many of attractions including the White House. The staff was extremely friendly, helpful, and professional. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this hotel!

Side Note: I would love to get the chance to stay at The Willard (Inter Continental that is full of history, and a beautiful hotel in the heart of the city. It is definitely on my bucket list. The Cafe du Parc is perfect for people watching and a delish lunch!

Transportation and Getting Out & About ...
Start to get in shape now! We walked about 10 miles a day (16 km). That is the point at which the kids and I quit, not because we had seen all there was to see, because it was hot and our feet hurt. My Husband the trooper of the bunch often continued on his own.
Parking: $50 or more per day is standard. We had valet parking at the hotel, and it was very convenient for the few times we needed the van to go to an attraction outside the down town core.
Subway: We took the Metro that was a few blocks from the hotel to Union Station where the Trolley night time tour of the monuments began and finished. I highly recommend this. The Metro was convenient and definitely cheaper than driving and parking.

So much to do, so little time ...
Smithsonian Museums, Galleries: (19 in total in DC area) and the Zoo: ALL FREE ADMISSION! That equals BIG savings for a family of four, since it is not unusual for museums to cost $60-$100 for a family. Plus with so many museums, galleries and the zoo there was something for everyone!

For us (aka my Husband) seeing the 2 Smithsonian Air and Space Museums was at the top of the list, and they did not disappoint.

More fun than a barrel of monkeys ...

  • International Spy Museum: This is another fun museum that is worth the price of admission at least once. You can find discount coupons in many of the free tourist magazines and flyers available all over DC.
  • Crime & Punishment Museum: This is totally fun and I think worth the price to go. You can find discount coupons in many of the free tourist magazines and flyers available all over DC.
  • National Geographic Museum: I believe if you subscribe to National Geographic there is a discount on admission. I enjoyed this museum, and the memories National Geographic brings back to most of us. It is not a big museum so this will take a half day at most.
  • Memorials and Monuments: There are 18+ monuments that are FREE ADMISSION. I highly recommend that you visit the monuments at night on one of the Trolley Tours. They take care of the traffic, parking issues near the monuments, and trying to follow GPS directions in a busy city. The driver is full of information and trivia about DC and the monuments. There are some discounts for ordering your tickets on-line or check out the free tourist magazines and flyers for discount coupons.

Yummy food ... nom nom 
Breakfast: For us was  juice, cereal, coffee from the Keurig in the hotel, and pastries from a bakery down the street. This helped to save on time and money. There was a CVS with groceries across the street, and we rented a fridge ($25 for length of stay) for our room.
Lunches: Were at the museums which can be expensive, if not planned a bit. Take a minute to look at the menu, combos and what can be shared. I always brought our own water (not paying $3 a bottle for water ever!) If you need a bit of flavour added to your water bring along a single serve drink crystal pack. Many of the museums allow you to bring your own snacks or packed lunch you can eat in the cafeteria) In general the food at the cafeterias was fair to good. 
Dinners: We opted for some healthy fast food options close to the hotel for dinner such as Subway, SweetGreen, and Chop't.

Shopping ... duh, there has to be shopping involved!
In general I did not find there to be tons of good shopping other than the typical souvenirs in the down town National Mall area, BUT....
The Smithsonian Air and Space Udvar-Hazy Centre is located in Chantilly Virginia (about a 1/2 hour drive from DC National Mall) is well worth the drive! 
Since you are already there why not check out the Leesburg Corners Premium Outlet Mall - looking at planes makes me hungry for shopping! (Note: many of the Premium Outlet Malls give out free discount books to AAA and CAA members at the customer service desk/office). There is also a Costco in Leesburgs Corners which is always fun since the US Costco stores carry different merchandise than the Canadian stores. Yes your Canadian Costco card works in the States!

Might I suggest:
That you visit the websites for the various attractions to see what events, discounts, and deals are available. Discounts on admission tickets can add up to big savings for a family of four. Also check the Outlet Mall sites for their discount booklets. If your have museum or gallery memberships check to see if there are any reciprocal agreements (aka free admission). Lastly be sure to check and ask if your CAA/AAA membership entitles you to any savings at all hotels, attractions, or restaurants

Other Links:
Washington Parent Magazine

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Washington DC.

Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share my experiences with my readers.

Sunday 20 October 2013


I am so honoured to have been chosen for Nearly Twins' Friday Feature. Please go see all the oh so nice things they said about me! Blushing on the outside, all happy and flattered in the inside!
Friday Feature – Cathy Thinking Out Loud

Friday 18 October 2013

I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on.....

I know this is going to sounds silly, even before the words are typed, but I think about it so what better place to talk about it than here. The truth is we have insight into people through their actions, or lack of actions, including social media following, and interaction.

 I know it is not about the numbers, and who follows you or not. I know it should not matter if someone or a brand follows back, or interacts. I know that expecting a hello that is no way related to a promo, contest, or twitter party is probably unreasonable. Clearly brands have an agenda, as do the bloggers that generate income from blogging, and those tweeting hoping to win a prize. Common sense says when following so many people it is hard to connect with everyone regularly.
I know I know I know.....but you know what? It does matter to me.

I had a conversation with my husband a while back about interviewing potential employees. He had been told more than once he was excellent at interviewing. So I asked why do you think that is. His response was; when you genuinely take an interest in the person you are interviewing and you listen, you'll know the questions to ask, and they will share with you all you need to know. My response was "so you pretend to care", and he said "no, I actually care what they have to say". It seemed a bit forced to me, but after thinking about I realize it really is as simple as choosing to care. It is through taking a genuine interest that you listen and can then ask the questions that matter, then determining if this person will be a good fit. Clever man, I knew I married him for some reason. 

The point I am trying to make is by genuinely taking an interest in someone as a person not just as a means to an end, you get all the information you need, and generally a happy ending. I make it a point to try to share information, and to promote brands and bloggers I like. I really make an effort to read posts, and interact just to say hello, or "loved your post", not just enter the contests. I follow many not because I want to read tons of pitches and marketing blurbs all day long, I follow them despite that. I am sure that many follow me despite the volume of tweets (I tweet a lot, no question) and the multitude of subjects I tweet about. I appreciate when people, bloggers, and brands follow and interact with me on a personal level even if much of what I tweet does not fit their niche. It matters to me, and in turn I am very loyal to those who take the time. They are proof that it is possible for even very big and popular people, bloggers, and brands to follow and interact in a meaningful way. To those who do Thanks, and to those who don't you should.

I think we all want to be more than a number or sale or stat. I'm not a contester (but I do enter lots of contests) and participate and in twitter parties. I am not a brand ambassador but I do share and support brands. What I am is in a position to interact and promote the brands and bloggers that are genuine and I feel good about. If I reach out to someone to say hi, or answer a question asked I am in a position to maybe add value in some way. I am most definitely am in a position to make purchasing decisions about the majority of items bought for my family. 

OK so what? What does that mean and who cares? Well the thing is social media is a way to have two way interactions with brands, bloggers, and people in general. It is from these interactions that I form an impression. I make decisions about what I purchase based on these experiences and interactions. I decide who will get my valuable time from these impressions. Further more in my life outside of social media, I share the good and bad experiences and impressions with friends and family, and listen to the experiences they share. They too make decisions on the information shared. Then like Faberge Shampoo commercial from the 80's (dating myself here) "I told two friends ... and they told two friends, so on". So even just from a pure marketing and sales point it pays to take the time to say hello, and maybe get to know that person who tweets a lot about all sorts of things. 

I recently came across this post (Jan. 2014) I am adding this link because I think the principles speak to some of what I am trying to say. Four Dale Carnegie Principles Social Marketers Can Implement

Yep, just Cathy thinking out loud again.