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Yahoo Fixes an Email Oops

I got an email from Yahoo Fantasy Sports this morning with the results of my Week 9 match up. It was blank. No biggie. I know that I beat the Commish of our league this week, I didn’t need an email to tell me that.

Yahoo Email

But a few hours later, they sent another one. This time, there were actual words and graphics in the body of the email. They owned up to the error; they joked about it; they fixed it. Wow. Yahoo just won some points with me for being human.

So, for anyone who has ever sent an email before they meant to — or for anyone who may do it in the future — here are a few lessons to take away from Yahoo’s mistake:

  1. Relax and take a deep breath.  It’s okay. You’re not the first one to ever to that. It’s more than likely not the first time the recipient has ever received a blank email. This was not my first.
  2. Apologize. Own up to the error and admit: I/we goofed. My grandmother always told me that “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry” were three of the most powerful phrases that we could ever speak.
  3. Have a sense of humor about it all. I loved Yahoo’s “once more with feeling” addition to the subject line. The “Well, that’s embarrassing” in the body keeps the self-deprecating humor going.
  4. Move on. What’s the word for an oops that’s not quite big enough to be deemed a “mistake”? That’s what this was. A tiny error, no big deal, but they made it right and we can all go on with our day.

Now, don’t go and clog your recipients’ inboxes with “I’m sorry” every time a period is out of place. But know when it’s time to own up to a mistake and have some fun learning from it.

Just Say Thank You

In this world of social media, we’ve lost our social common courtesies. This isn’t news to anyone, but I’m ready for it to change.

Yesterday after work, I was grabbing coffee on my way to see Mom. We joke that we’re not allowed to walk in for a visit without her Starbucks. A solo venti six- pump skinny vanilla latte. I can place that order in my sleep. I ordered hers and picked up an iced coffee drink for myself. Walking out the door with my purse slung over my shoulder, a screaming hot coffee in one hand and a way-too-full cup of cold iced coffee in the other, a gentleman — no, let’s call him a guy — was walking toward the door. I used my right elbow to prop the door open for him. He didn’t release the door from my elbow and take over the job of getting himself inside. He didn’t say thank you. He didn’t even nod at me or acknowledge my existence. He just slithered right in… For some reason, I was shocked.

I’ve been noticing for several weeks now that the majority of men don’t seem to be holding doors for women — for anyone — these days. Maybe it’s because women aren’t saying thank you. Guys, is that it? Dammit. Let’s say thank you! Acknowledge the fact that someone just recognized that, Hey, this person is human. They’re walking into the same store/bar/restaurant that I am. I think I’ll hold the door one extra second for them. 

And while I’m at it: When someone says thank you, return it with a you’re welcome. Not sure or no problem or uh huh. You’re welcome! Am I being unreasonable to think that we can and should do this for each other?

Let’s challenge ourselves today… Say “thank you” to someone. Say “you’re welcome”. Tell someone you like their car/shoes/hat/tiny new kitten. Smile at a stranger. Tell someone if their tag is sticking out or they didn’t zip their pants. Take two seconds and hold the door…

Social Dieting?!

“I’ll start tomorrow.” That’s normally my attitude when it comes to losing those pesky few pounds that I keep promising myself. Tomorrow is always a good plan. But today — at the urging of a friend with whom I’ve been having “we should lose a few lbs” conversations — I joined DietBet.com. It calls itself a “four-week social dieting game”. Social dieting, huh? Okay…

Seems easy enough: I logged in with my Facebook account and paid $25 to join our small “game” of 12 participants. There is now $300 in the pot. (Some games have thousands of dollars in the pot!) The players who reach 4% weight loss at the end of four weeks split the pot! We start Sept. 16.

I can actually see this working. Though my friend and I have been talking about working together to lose a bit of weight for several weeks now, we haven’t done anything about it. You know — because there’s always tomorrow to get started. DietBet.com gave us a start date. No questions or going back and forth about the best tomorrow to get started. And no outlandish goals are necessary. We’re all equally aiming for 4%.

I’m about to download the app that goes along with the website. I’ll report back with my four-week results. Wish me luck — and loss! And no, I won’t be tweeting out my numbers. Thank goodness, DietBet.com will keep our of our special numbers private. Whew.

Over-Sharing or Over-Connected: It’s My Fault

InstagramCollageI’m a content nerd. (It’s okay, I’m good with it.) And I bet I could make an argument that 95 percent of content needs a visual — an infographic, a video, a photo. For me personally, it’s almost always a photo. So of course, I’m thrilled that a little app called Instagram is sticking around. Cliche as it is, a picture is worth a thousand words.

I vented to a friend not long ago, though, that people were “abusing” Instagram. I’d see a picture there, and then they’d tweet it, and post it on Facebook, and add it to their Flickr stream. Seriously. How many times do I need to see the same picture?! If I was lucky, I was seeing the each one fewer than four times in one hour. This smart, listening friend pointed out to me that the friends sharing photos aren’t necessarily over-sharing; I’m just over-connected. (I do tend to dive right into the new shiny things… )

Could that be true? Is it possible to be connected in too many places? And if you had to choose just one from all of the social sites/tools/apps you currently use, which one would it be?

Is Toyota Advertising for Honda?

CRVRAV4I do not have a degree in advertising, but I know what works in my mind and in my pocketbook. I’ve been driving by this Toyota billboard for the last couple of weeks, and I’m baffled that anyone in the advertising agency — or Toyota — let it out to the world.

It’s a billboard for the Toyota Rav4, just to be clear. But, “CR-V” is shown on the billboard before “Toyota” or “Rav4″. “CR-V” is also bigger than “Rav4″ and bigger than the Toyota logo or the word “Toyota”. Is that crazy, or is it just me?

I think they could have done a couple of tiny, simple things to fix the confusion:

1. Have “The all-new Rav4″ lead the billboard. That way, drivers who are whizzing by at 70 miles per hour — even if they only read four words of the whole billboard — at least know what the billboard is for.

2. Make the picture of the car face us. People are visual. The Toyota logo on the front of the car might be all a driver (consumer) needs to know what the billboard is all about.

3. Not mention the competition and make the ad all about the Rav4. Crazy. Yep.

3 New Social Media Rules

BlackSighHave We Run Out of Things to Say? Or Are We Saying Too Much?

I watched a baby’s birth on Facebook this morning. Not via webcam — thank goodness — but with each centimeter that this high school friend’s wife dilated, he told the world about it. We weren’t really that close in high school. I didn’t feel like this is information I should have. And, why wasn’t he enjoying those moments with his wife and new son instead of Facebooking each and every second away from them?

There’s “too much” and then there’s “not enough to warrant a post so just keep it to yourself”.

I’ve been seeing one-word tweets and Facebook updates quite a bit lately. “Sigh.” “Sleepy.” Even “ugh.” Is this a call for attention, a soft scream for someone to jump in and ask “what’s wrong?” Maybe it’s the need to have the top status update in our friends’ stream.

Or it is simply the fact that we’ve run out of things to say because the conversation and noise are continuous and we still feel the constant need to be a part of it?

So, because I don’t want to over-share or talk just to hear the sound of my own voice, I’ve decided to adopt three new social media rules:

  1. Does it benefit or help someone else? Could someone else learn from the link I’m sharing? Could a homeless pet find its perfect family? If so, I’ll be tweeting and Facebooking it.
  2. Does it lift someone up? If I can introduce two people that should be BFFs or show gratitude for something, I’ll do it.
  3. I’m not CNN. I won’t ever be the one to break national, state or even local news, and I’m not going to even try.
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Facebook Has a Purpose

ThreeDogsI’ve been on Facebook for years. It’s been a great way to keep up with friends and family who are miles away. But over the last year, I’ve really discovered Facebook’s purpose for my social and online life: dogs! Homeless dogs to be exact.

For almost three years, I’ve been volunteering as a writer and photographer for Austin Pets Alive! I also volunteer as a dog walker and continue to learn and add to my skills to help out on the Behavior Team. My moments big and small with these dogs are really the most fulfilling times during my whole week. And I’m not alone.

There is a huge network of volunteers at APA!, and many of them are on Facebook. I’ve seen dozens of volunteers come together in a matter of hours to find a lost dog in their neighborhood after seeing a simple post on Facebook. We share photos and videos across our networks to help dogs get adopted. We post about how well certain dogs did on field trips, being able to add characteristics like “good with young kids” to the list of things we know about certain dogs. Volunteers have even joined together to bring lost dogs home across state lines. It starts with simply sharing, but as we work to save these dogs by getting them into great homes, it beccomes much bigger than that!

I realize that Facebook serves a different purpose for each user. For some, it’s simply social interaction that they may not be getting face-to-face. For others, it helps them find jobs or recruit new employees. For a few, it’s simply about sharing what their kids wore on their first day of school.

As much as we gripe about Facebook and its (ever-changing) policies, I forgive it a little because of the lives I’m able to have a very tiny part in saving through the connections I have there.

Daddy’s Wisdom

Last Tuesday makes it two years since Daddy passed away. I miss him like crazy, but I can still hear his voice in my mind. I’m so thankful for that. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the little isms he had when I was a kid. This was one of my favorites. And he was so right.

Dog Leash Tutorial

I learned to sew when I was in junior high. I was good at it — and fast my mother tells me, but I never really loved it. A couple of years ago, I took it up again. I’m still fast, and I can sew a straight line like nobody’s business. And this time around, I love it!

Now, I’m not going to be designing my own clothes anytime soon, but if you need an apron, a dog bed or a custom pillowcase, I’m your girl. This week, I also added dog leashes to my repertoire. I have four completed dog leashes in my hands that will be donated to Austin Pets Alive! the next time I’m there. They were actually very easy to make!

If you wanna make one or four or ten, here’s all you’ll need for each one:

  • two yards of nylon webbing, 1″ wide
  • two yards and two inches of ribbon, 5/8″ wide
  • coordinating all-purpose thread
  • a 1″ swivel hook

Step 1. Center the ribbon along the webbing with about one inch of ribbon hanging over each end. I don’t even pin the ribbon down. I tried pinning on the first one, but I had to do as much re-adjusting and re-centering as I did when I didn’t use pins.

Step 2. Sew along each edge of the ribbon, securing it to the webbing.

Step 3. Make a small loop on one end of your soon-to-be leash and slide the swivel hook on. Tuck the loose ribbon in and close the loop with a box stitch or any other stitch you’d like to use to secure the swivel hook. I back-stitched every little bit to make sure my loop and hook were secure.

Step 4. Make a larger loop on the other end — mine ended up about seven inches long — for the handle. Again, tuck the loose inch of ribbon in and close the loop with a box stitch. I made sure that my hand would fit in the loop and that it would rest comfortable on my wrist. That’s just how I walk dogs — loop around my wrist, resting the leash in my hand.

Step 5. Walk your dog!

I Can Draw!

Or at least Dan Roam wants me to believe that I can.

I’m signing up for his Napkin Academy today after hearing him speak at Confab last week. I’ve seen him speak before — entertaining, dynamic, smart — but this time, he had me believing that I can really take pen to paper, draw pretty things and make magic happen.

I think in photographs and words, but not necessarily in visuals alone. Dan believes that any problem can be solved through simple pictures. Can I solve content problems for clients? Can I better manage my (limited) time? Can I fix the overcrowding problem in Austin’s animal shelter?

I’m going to learn how to draw and test his belief myself. I’ll keep you posted!

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