Challenge for 2011! I’m posting every week in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011. I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way and encouraging others when I can. I used to be an avid blogger about my life (been blogging since I was 16…) just got out of habit. Also should consider doing this for my internal work blog….

If you already read my blog a BIG THANK YOU. I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes along the way.

Let’s see how this goes…

 

Signed,

Allison

How we bought our house through Facebook…

So I am a social media nut.  I am also obsessed with Facebook and networking. Not just going to parties and passing out MY business card. I am all about helping people by referring them to people I already know. Its like my brain is a huge Rolodex. Any time anyone says anything I am always referencing in my head how I could help them with my network of people.  Check out this BLOG POST about being world class…

Anyways, one random day my husband and I were both off work and I was on Facebook (gasp)… and some friends we knew from college were selling their house. I knew this but I never knew how much they were asking for it. He listed his house on Facebook Marketplace and based on the number of “Likes” and comments it gets – it displays more at the top of people’s feeds. He and his wife work for Campus Crusade and were relocated to  Indianapolis to work for the regional office. They couldn’t begin their ministry their until they sold their house and moved… (see blog for their SOLD post..) Anyways – I looked at my husband and said we could do this. We love our place currently and get a great deal and have enough space – but we never planned on staying here forever.

I called him and we set up a showing that same day. I, of course , fell in love with the house… It was perfect for us. My husband wasn’t so sure… we began the process of getting a mortgage and put in an offer… ALL WITHOUT A REALTOR! Based on people we knew,  we found a lender, inspector, home owners insurance, title company and more! We had exceptional service and repsect from everyone and we closed right in time to get a 2010 tax break. From talking with our friends and family – we got ideas of what to be doing and how to be handling things. From all the internet sites we gained knowledge of what to bring and expect for each step of the way. Anyways, we won’t move in until February or so… Which works perfect because we are in no hurry to leave our place, and we need to help find someone to rent our place– (know of anyone?).

My advice:

  • Buying a home is very emotional. Make sure you have someone who doesn’t have the emotion — we could have paid too much or done something too crazy if it wasn’t for my level headed husband. 🙂
  • You don’t need to pay for a Realtor when you are buying… you have alot of resources at your fingertips if you have friends and a computer.
  • If you are selling… make sure you are doing your part too – don’t just rely on your Realtor. (My husbands father is selling his house… I could make a better pamphlet than he is paying her too.. I almost want him to drop her because she hasn’t done much to get the buzz around. ) You can never tell too many people!
  • Ask questions. No dumb question – we had no idea what we were doing, however we did have some Dave Ramsey experience… about mortgages and debt etc.
  • Make a plan and stick to it — ie. a budget!
  • Get creative with negotiation. I was so impressed by what we did (ok.. what my husband did) to negotiate. We got what we wanted, and they got what they needed. Everyone was happy in the end. There is so much more than the PRICE to negotiate on…

Hope your holiday was great…. and don’t knock Facebook – to some people it has changed their lives… and will continue to…

 

Have you bought anything through Facebook? Would you ever? What about a house!?? Would you ever sell your things on Facebook??

I never wrote a business case in business school.

I studied business for my undergrad at the University of Toledo. I never wrote a business case. Ok, maybe I wrote something similar to a business case… but I never wrote a real one. I am starting to learn in my two years out of college that some things will never be taught in a classroom.

A few months ago – I was told to bring social media in to help our IT teams communicate and collaborate better.  Our IT groups are known for rolling out lots of new systems with little or no communication – to each-other or to the end users. Alot of work is duplicated and time is lost.  I began to heavily research social media for enterprise collaboration. Our company already has SharePoint 2007 and we will be upgrading to SharePoint 2010. I decided to investigate Yammer. I had been on Yammer a while, but never really got into it until this project.

Basically Yammer became viral at my company. But before we did anything major about it (ie. Use the purchased SAAS) I was told – ” I need a business case for this”.  I stared at my boss’s boss with my mouth open. What, a business case? What’s that?

After a few days of researching business case writing, and figuring out what questions needed to be answered and answering them about Social Media and Yammer specifically I had a pretty solid business case.

These are the questions I answered

  • What was the problem?
  • What was the root cause?
  • How were we going to solve it?
  • What tools and technology does this bring us that we don’t already have? (SharePoint, Email, IM vs. Yammer)
  • Risks and Mitigation
  • What happens if we do nothing? (Do nothing leads to nothing).
  • Implementation Plan
  • Other Social Media and Enterprise Statistics and research found from Gartner
  • Other department and review, approval and sign off of ideas, concepts and design

Anyways, I worked on this nights and weekends because during the week I wasn’t really “allowed” to work on anything besides our  SAP implementation. I was quite impressed with all the information I came up with and how it was laid out (of course we didn’t have an internal business case template for me to follow). I went through a few revisions with my manager and added more details and structure. This was a great learning opportunity for me.

Then when I presented it to my boss’s boss… He said, Nice work… but I just wanted 5 slides that I could present to management.

ARGH! So I made my five slides that were the highlights of the business case that he could present. (More on how that went in later posts but a fyi… we don’t use Yammer anymore… and not because of Yammer, but because legal and HR went nuts. Oh well.)

Lesson Learned: When they ask for business case… find out what they really mean before you become too involved in writing a business case.

In other news… This blog post is pretty cool too  Whatever happened to the business case?

If you don’t use it…you are lost!

Earlier this year, we created a Articulate Roundtable group for the users at my company.

Here are the reasons we did this:

  • My Team (training) became the constraint with Articulate – once people saw what it could do our plates were full.
  •  These users were non-elearning developers.
  • We were  “in the womb” stage of a LMS – unchartered water that needed to be done together, with standards
  • Standards in general – about colors, templates and looks and feels.

So with those in mind, I trained about 15 associates how to use Articulate. They downloaded the free trial version before coming to class. They also had to come with some content or a project they knew they were going to work on. Anyways – we storyboarded, learned Articulate,  and the fisherman were fishing. Back to the original reason for the post…

The second Tuesday of each month since then, I have held an Articulate Roundtable. Members come and bring their projects to get feedback, we had new users come an learn, we share and watch screen casts, and  began to build standards for our company’s Elearning strategy. For our last Roundtable for 2010 I wanted something that was special and different.  Jeanette Brooks (and a few others @hamtra and @suchadrag) responded to my cry for help on Twitter for something cool. Jeanette offered to do an “Engage” session. I mentioned to her that our users create from content already developed and they just use the next button – they don’t really use the interactions of Engage as they should. She came up with 3 really good ideas and examples of before (slides) and after (interaction).

Our Roundtable didn’t know who the special guest was – I was excited for their reactions. We had 7 people in the room, and three more on the phone (plus two from Germany). Our largest turn out yet! They were really pumped when they saw it was Jeanette!  She started to walk us through the different types of interactions.

We sat and listened in awe. I have never heard this group so quiet. Honestly – what she was teaching us was not to just to use Articulate, it was to think outside of the software and the tools that we have AND GET CREATIVE! and SMART! What she showed us didn’t take hours to make and do in Articulate, which is exactly what we needed.  We are excited and I couldn’t wait to get back to my desk and begin working on Articulate!  A few things I learned

  1. I need better/more/savvier Power Point Skills – THERE IS SO MUCH I just don’t know or use in PPT.
  2. Jeanette was a great model of how a someone who is presenting via Live Meeting should be. Prepared! She had everything ready to go, files up, didn’t have to look for anything. It was so streamlined and smooth. I do a lot of training over the web, and man she blew me away and gave me some good ideas (probably didn’t even know this!) about becoming a better web presenter.
  3. Clip art doesn’t stink. Usually I look elsewhere for my pictures, but she showed us some cool tricks for clip art in Microsoft.

I know that Articulate is working on an upcoming blog post about user groups and how to start one.

The resources that Jeanette provided are below.  They are awesome and definitely worth taking a look.

  ArticulateEngageResources

What about you? Do you participate in user groups or communities? What are they like? What are you learning?

All I know is that if I don’t use it, I lose it.