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Appreciating the Simple Things

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving.  Honey and I just returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving in the beautiful state of Maine.  This time of the year always serves as a "reality check" for me, and reflecting in the beautiful state of Maine couldn't have been better!  Typically, I reflect on my goals and progress towards them.  Of course I also think about the things I am most grateful for in my life. This year I have the usuals-- my loved ones, fantastic friends, health, and relative sanity. :-) However, this year's list is supplemented by a new item. It is one of the things I am most passionate about, but I often don't place on my gratitude list. This year, the ability to connect online, something that is now so simple, makes it to my gratitude list.

Hurricane Sandy served as a wake up call to me. Not due to its remarkable and completely ridiculous strength, although the sheer range of the storm was insane. Check out The NY Times' interactive map of New Jersey and New York flood zones.  Nor was it simply an indicator of the "potential" effects of climate change. Instead, it reminded me of how much I rely on social media. At the end of the day, social media consistently keeps me "in the know" when I can't make a call to check on my friends and family, especially during times of question and unrest.

A few weeks ago, someone told me social media was important. Now that is all well and good, especially since I agree. The funny thing was they couldn't tell me why. At this stage of the game, supporters and non-supporters of social media should understand it isn't going anywhere.  If anything, we are increasing our dependency upon it. In addition to its proven business benefit, it remains an effective method to connect and share information, in real time.  In the case of Sandy, I was able to track the progress of friends in New Jersey, New York, and even the Caribbean via Facebook. Now I know, Facebook is one of those "I love it", "I hate it", or "I used to love it and now I hate it because I can't remember how to do the things I used to do" sites. I understand all of those feelings, but irrespective of how one feels about Facebook or social media - you can't discount the benefit of finding out that your friend or relative is ok in a storm that has wiped out entire communities.


Every now and again, I remind people that social media has been in existence for the past 12 years. We live in a world that is still figuring out how to harness its power to efficiently create new methods to find information, communicate, and even develop new business opportunities. Today, we have powerful smart phones and tablets that allow us to take this capability wherever we are so we can tap into social media whenever we want. It is both a wonderful and frightening (to some) prospect.  Developing an open mind, to the good that has come and will continue to result from this channel, is a great way to appreciate what we have today and may even help you identify the next great thing!

In the meantime, as you continue with your holiday shopping, please keep those affected by Sandy in your thoughts. People are still rebuilding and The American Red Cross is accepting donations. Please take a minute and donate if you can.  If you have an American Express Card, click here to view a list of charities that will not have to pay a transaction fee on your contribution.  American Express has agreed to waive this fee for certain charities.

Keep safe and have a wonderful holiday season.

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