Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Love Social Media

It seems that all I write about in most of my blog posts these days revolves around social media. In the past year and a half or so I have become passionate about learning the tricks of social media. I have had great mentors in professors who have embraced social media and use them as contact points for students. Thanks to Professor Mike Johansson (@mikefixs) and Dr. Neil Hair (@neilhair), who have been instrumental in helping me to build my online reputation. Since I began taking social media so seriously I have been able to connect with people that I otherwise wouldn't have met. Some of these people I have formed lifelong relationships with and have built a connection that I never imagined could have occurred because of an online meeting through social media. Thanks Daddy (@DrRus). ;-)

Now, onto the real reason that I am writing about social media today. There have been a lot of stories lately about businesses who have embraced social media and as a result have been able to provide excellent customer service online. When people are treated wrongly by a business they tend to tell their friends about it. Word of mouth is the fast spreading form of advertising and PR. With the speed of communication on the Internet today, word of mouth is even faster. I recently had my own experience like that.

I was rear-ended and the result ended up totaling my car (a 2010 Chevy Cobalt with 7,000 miles). Now, the guy who hit me was telling a different story so his insurance company (AllState) wasn't going to accept the liability without a police report. This meant that I couldn't get a rental car to get to work (my bad, I didn't have rental insurance on my own policy). Now, to make matters worse, the lady I was dealing with through AllState gave me attitude every time I talked to her. I also experienced a very painful case of whiplash, and my back is still hurting from the accident. For whatever reason, it was a week before my agent got hands on the police report. I was able to be treated for my injury, but not having a car made things difficult. Things were  not going smoothly and as you can imagine I was getting quite frustrated. After being told by AllState that I still couldn't get a rental, even though they had the police report and would be accepting full liability, I took to Twitter.

Within five to ten minutes I got a DM from AllState apologizing for my inconvenience and asking for my contact info to rectify my situation. Long story short, I ended up back on the phone with the original agent I had been working with (the one with the attitude) and suddenly she turned into a sweet person and quickly got me a rental reservation for three days. I even got a follow-up phone call from one of the executive corporate managers the next afternoon to ensure that my situation had been solved in the right way. It's amazing what social media can do when used the right way.

Now, I will probably never consider AllState for my own insurance policy, but I did gain a new respect for them with their quick response to my tweets and rectifying my situation. As I learned from #SMACSRIT and my professors, monitoring your online brand is very important in today's day and age.

Thank you AllState for following through to get me a needed rental. Thank you to my social media mentors for teaching me how to engage in the right way in situations as they arise. I will leave this post with my tweet right after I got my confirmed rental reservation number.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Greater Story

Since I decided to change the subject of my blog and since I have started writing again, I want to share some of my writings on here. This one I started writing earlier in the week and finished it yesterday. Feedback is always appreciated.

Greater Story

The years of feeling alone,
All the time spent being the strong one,
Building up the brick and mortar,
The walls no one could ever knock down.

I thought I was safe,
I thought no one could get to me,
But the whole time I was crying out,
Break down these stubborn walls.

The love I had been missing,
The encouragement I never heard,
The family I never knew,
Suddenly I have it all.

No longer on my own,
Suddenly surrounded by love,
Family hugs and encouragement,
What more do I need?

Through amazing grace,
Forgiven by God,
Now living for Christ
And the Holy Spirit inside of me.

All those years spent searching
For a place in my own life,
The whole time not knowing
My place is in His Greater Story.

© Tracy Bonzo ~ October 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Remembering Dan Wheldon

I was planning on posting my next post about SMACSRIT today, but my heart is heavy with yesterday's loss of IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon.

Even though I am not a big fan of the IndyCar racing series, I still enjoy watching the Indy cars race when I can. Yesterday was the first time I had turned on the IndyCar race all season other than part of the Indy 500 in May. I turned it on at lap 12, right after the worst looking wreck I have ever seen in any form of racing. A total of 15 cars were involved, with four drivers injured. The race was red flagged for close to two hours as drivers, crews, and fans waited for clean up and to hear any news about fellow driver and friend Dan Wheldon. Dan had been airlifted to a local hospital in the Las Vegas area and three other drivers were taken by ground for further evaluation. One driver was released and two were kept overnight, but they are alive and okay. However, Dan Wheldon was not so lucky.

At the age of 33, Dan leaves behind his wife, Susie, and two young sons. My heart aches as I think about Sebastian, age 2, and Oliver, just a baby born in March 2011 growing up without knowing their daddy. My heart also aches for Susie, losing not only her husband, but her best friend and life partner. Nothing will ever be able to replace Dan Wheldon in their lives. My prayers today are for his young family and friends, as well as for the drivers in the IndyCar series. I will also say a quick prayer for drivers in ALL forms a racing, as yesterday proved that their is a brother/sisterhood between any and all racers.

I will leave this post with my video of the 5 lap tribute that the remaining 19 cars that weren't wrecked did in honor of their friend Dan Wheldon.

God bless Dan Wheldon, his family, and all those involved in the racing community. Forever in our hearts.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The Rochester Institute of Technology held the second Social Media and Communication Symposium on September 29, 2011 and it was once again put together and hosted by Professor Mike Johansson (@mikefixs).

Just like last year, this years SMACS was another amazing learning and networking event. The #SMACSRIT Twitter hashtag was busy all day with people tweeting their thoughts as the speakers were presenting their parts. For me personally, this year was a little better, but only because I didn't hold back. Last year I was still learning what you can do with social media both personally and professionally. This year, however, I dove right in and participated in the discussion and got to chat with a few more people. Unfortunately, I was't able to network with many in real life because I had to work, but I did do some networking via Twitter. I can't wait to see what the next event has in store.

Now, I took a lot of notes this year as I followed along with the Twitter hashtag #SMACSRIT. I started writing this blog post, but it got to the point where it would be way too long for just one post. At the suggestion of Professor Mike Johansson, who has become my social media and PR mentor, I will be doing a series of blog posts. I want to give an adequate description of each speaker and my thoughts on how they inspired me. This may take some time, but I feel that the event deserves it.

To start, RIT President Bill Destler (@RITPresident) opened the event with a few words before moving on to the first keynote of the morning, Pam Moore. Pam (@PamMktgNut) spoke about social media in small businesses. Pam introduced a strategy for businesses involved in social media that she calls the POST-GM strategy.



She also answered the question that people ask all the time about marketing in social media. What's the Return on Investment (ROI)? She says that "Social Currency = Action". The most important thing is to be INVOLVED in social media and to interact with potential customers and business partners. ROI is no doubt hard to measure online when direct sales are not involved, but the most important aspect is to BE online. Businesses, whether B2B or B2C, have to have an open online presence and be willing to interact with their customers, good and bad comments alike. How consumers see a company deal with negativity can have a huge impact on their opinion of that company and whether or not future business is done there.

I will conclude my first post by saying that SMACS had two separate tracks throughout the day, a business track and a student track. I will not be commenting on the student track in any of my posts, as I spent all day in the business track.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

I was never one to jump on the Apple bandwagon. In fact, I never owned an Apple product until I bought my iPad earlier this year. Since then I have also gotten an iPhone and I won't lie when I say that I am now addicted.

Over the past few months I have delved deeper into the Apple world and have gained an enormous amount of respect for the great innovator. He has truly changed the world for the better because of his inventions.

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs. You have done well, done more than your part. Although we lost you too soon, you deserve to rest.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding Love and Family

I grew up in a broken family, but not in the sense that might usually first come into mind. There was love and good intentions all around, but relationships were fragile. It seems like no one in my family knew how to express themselves or show their love and pride for one another. Hugs and kisses were rare. There was a 10 year period during most of my childhood that I never once saw my cousins and only saw my aunt and uncle about three times total. I didn't realize it at the time, but it has definitely had a profound effect on how I go about my life now. Since I've been out on my own, I find that the further I am from some family members, the happier I am. It's not that I don't care about my family, but because they were so distant throughout my childhood. I've always felt like I don't quite fit in with my family, almost like I'm the black sheep, because I wanted more hugs. It seems strange, but growing up without hugs or not saying "I love you" every night had a definitely impact on my relationships today. I love to fix things with my family and to get us close again. I want nothing more than to have a tight-knit family that hugs and sees each other more than once or twice a year, if that. But it seems like every time I try to meet up with family members or plan something, it does nothing but tear us even further apart.

However, recently I have been "adopted" into another family in Newark, NY and they have been showing me the type of family that I want. The love they share for each other is obvious everyday, and I hope to someday have my own family like that. For now though, I just want to say thanks Mum and Dad for showing me so much and adopting me into your family. It means a lot to me to finally have someone I can call Dad, and to finally feel like I truly "belong" someplace.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Post About Osama bin Laden

Last week the United States celebrated a huge victory in the current war against terrorist group Al-Qaeda. There has been little else in the news all across the nation. As a member of the military, hearing the news that Osama bin Laden has finally been killed means a multitude of emotions. Much like the victims of the 9/11 attacks, the news became bittersweet. Justice has finally been served for all those people that were killed so tragically. However, even though bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks and the leader of Al-Qaeda, his death does not mean the end of the wars.

There are so many other factors in this war that I fear many Americans may not be aware of due to the lack of substantial coverage on the news. National news filters the war and many firefights and deaths are not reported. Osama bin Laden was the figurehead leader of Al-Qaeda, but Al-Qaeda has many other leaders and there were several clues that more terror attacks on American were in the planning stages at bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. Al-Qaeda is still a threat to the United States, and troops overseas now are in as much danger now as they ever were during a deployment. The biggest fear right now is a retaliation attack on U.S. forces overseas, or even on our homeland. America is on guard, but we as a country have bonded together once again. The death of Osama bin Laden has also raised our hopes for the end of the war, but we must keep our guard up and not get complacent. We have gone this far, now we must see this war all the way through until it is safe enough that all of our troops can come home safely.