Category Archives: Media

Little secret about blogging

One of the little known areas about blogging is the PR machine that tries to reach the bloggers.  I thought it might be amusing to open the curtain a bit.  When I started blogging in 2004, it was still a relatively new medium.  I actively wrote for about 5 years and developed a large readership.  Before the meltdown of 2008,  baby boomers were still trying to find and keep jobs and reinvent themselves as they heading into their 50’s and 60’s.  Very few of us talked about boomers…it wasn’t “the demographic” that advertisers were looking for.  However, because the small group of us were very niched, anyone who was trying to sell anything to those edging to gray, reached out.  And quite creatively at the beginning, too.  Companies wanted their products to be authentic and I was inundated with cell phones with large numbers, boomer-geared music, books, movies, lingerie…from electronics to mobile homes to funeral offerings…marketers wanted a real picture to be shared on the web.

By 2009, Yelp and other user-reviewed sites had started to gain traction and marketing moved away from sharing of true experiences, and twitter parties, contests and user stories, to a search for reviews.  So publicists started offering their CEO’s, writers, talent, inventors and experts for interview, so that they’d have their online “quotables”.

I slowed down my blogging in 2009 for various reasons.  First, it was depressing to try and help others find work when there really was no work available for anyone…let alone anyone over 45.  Secondly, my business (a pet care services company) was taking off and I really didn’t have the time to devote to the hours I needed to write thoughtful posts.  So I laid back, but always kept a finger in here and there when something interested struck me.

From 2009 to today, every day, I am inundated by press releases from agencies who would like my reviews.  And clearly, they just want a review, because in 2015, there is no doubt…an online review by someone who has a good audience carries more weight than almost any other venue of advertising. How do you choose a restaurant today?  Usually Yelp or Google reviews guide the way.  Find a gardener or handyman?  Angie’s List, Nextdoor Neighbors.  How does a movie gain traction?  Rotten Tomatoes will make or break it, along with what fans are saying on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr.  Because I blogged for a long time, I’m on a lot of lists.  I don’t mind that at all.  But I’m finding it a rare day that something comes across my laptop screen that compels me to dig deeper.

If I were a publicist today I’d be focusing the same way, probably try to be a bit clearer about my targets and try to be a bit interested in who I’m trying to connect with.  I’d also get rid of market speak.  “Hello!  How are you?  I’m reaching out to you today to….”  or “Hi. Our CEO would love to connect with your readers…” or “Hi! Following up on our communication last week to see if…”.

Anyway, I do read all the plugs because you never know what’ll be interesting to you.  So, if I do share my thoughts on something with you, or review a product or a bit of literature, it’s because I felt it was something worth sharing.

Hope you enjoy the window into this funny little world.

Too much to say…but you know I’ll say it

My head is burbling with pre-election jumble, thoughts about healthcare and so much more…so, to start, here is this week’s link to the Blogging Boomers’ Carnival #180, hosted by the always astute, John Agno.  Definitely worth a stop over.

Onto the muddled state I find myself in…all thoughts, comments, yeahs or nays welcome.

Thought #1: Health care.  I am one of the self-employed corralled into an individual health plan and therefore subject to limits based on what I’ve been able to afford to buy into.  You’ve heard me complain about the cost of my premium, but what I forgot to mention (some of you emailed that your own plans were more costly) is that I’m on what is called a 40/60 plan with no limit on the deductible and no preventive coverage, and a $40/visit co-pay.  So if I go to the doctor 10 times in the year (let’s say I had been injured, or got whooping cough), that is $400 for my co-pays, plus 40% of each visit.  If I were hospitalized and the bill is a mere $10k, I’m on the hook for $4k, etc.  So here is where I’m a bit confounded right now.  We are all aware that there is a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic in California.  I’ve received emails and voicemails from LAUSD reminding me to innoculate my daughter with the tDAP vaccine.  Because the vaccine is considered preventive care, it is not covered by my plan.  It will cost me $85 – $90 each for my child and I to be innoculated. 

I’m on a search for the free vaccine, however most free or low cost clinics listed through LA city insist on a full medical exam for each of us prior to the exam, even though we both have regular doctors.  The cost for the exams will be the same, if not more, than the cost of shot.  So, it will cost me about $170 for the shots, which I plan on paying for.  Money is tight for everyone…so let’s say that I didn’t get the innoculations.  If I caught whooping cough, aside from potentially dying, wouldn’t the costs for my health care be a whole lot higher than $170?  I’m just saying….

Thought #2: Oh my gawd!  Watching the lead up to the Nov. 2nd elections is PAINFUL.  Painful.  Worse than listening to fingernails scratching against blackboard (those days are long gone…only whiteboards and dry erase markers now…) is watching the sound byte lies permeating the ads on both sides of the aisle.  However, since the GOP is spending a bit more on their ads, they seem to be even more out there in the “let me lie, but call it marketing” campaigns. 

One of my faves is the Christine O’Donnell “I am not a witch” ad.  Dressed in somber colors, lit up like a ghoul against a dark blue backdrop, with a bizarrely haunting piano track, I swear I can see ghosts floating around behind her. 

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Another fave for sheer idiocy is the anti-Meg Pinnocchio nose-growing ad.  I can’t stand Whitman, but seriously…this ad is laughable. 

But my absolute favorite ad (this time for sheer brilliance) is again, a Jerry Brown sponsored anti-Meg Whitman ad, juxtaposing her sound bytes against Arnold’s bytes from his first campaign.  Yup…same words.  I’m sure she’s had a conversation or two with her campaign manager and speech writers about it.  Enjoy.

Thought #3:  Self-esteem.  Have you noticed everyone is suffering a bit at the self-esteem front?  Could it be because 41% (or just about) of the employable workforce is unemployed?  Do you keep hearing people say “well…with 10% of America unemployed 90% are working”.  False.  Untrue.  Bad math.   There are about 300 million Americans.  You have to take out the retired (forceably or otherwise) and children and other non-working family members as well as those in “institutional” roles…i.e. non general population workforce.  Then there are also those who have given up looking for work (about 2 million). Then look at the numbers in the perspective of the American non-institutional workforce.  You get a true employment to population ratio is 58.5%.  How many of those in America who CAN work are in fact, working.   Here is the report…if you head down to the bar graph at the bottom of the report it is easier to figure out.  (Look for 58.5% and you’ll see how the labor metrics work.)  So 14.8 million are unemployed out of a potential pool of 150M civilian laborers.  That’s how it shakes out.

Media alert! Gen Plus List — Jan. 26, 2010

Are you trying to figure out next steps in dealing with the recession?  A major national publication is LOOKING FOR THREE GENERATIONS LIVING UNDER ONE ROOF!

The number of three-generation households has increased as a result of the recession. Have you and your spouse and/or kids moved into your parents’ home? Or have your kids recently moved back into your house?  

A national magazine is looking to talk to three generations who have recently decided to live together for a story on coping with this kind of arrangement. You will have to disclose some financials that relate to the situation (how mortgage costs are shared, etc.), but you will also get targeted financial advice from one of the country’s top financial planners about making this kind of transition work. If you’ve recently moved in with parents, had parents move in with you, or have been thinking about such a transition, send an email to Lauren_Kelleher@moneymail.com, telling us why it happened and how it’s been working.

Include a recent photo of all three generations, along with your names, ages, occupations and household income.

Please let me know if you connect with Lauren.  If you get published, I’ll be happy to post a link to the article here on Gen Plus, too!

Have an event, product or service that you want Gen Plussers to know about?  To promote activities of interest to Boomers and 50 Plussers, send an email to Janet at  wspiegel@genplususa.com and we’ll include you on the Gen Plus List.  Not all submissions will be included.  Please allow 3-5 days for your listing to appear.

Move over Social Media — here comes Stealth Media

Associated Press reporter, Roxana Hegeman, reported this morning on a Wichita Kansas’ judge’s groundbreaking decision to allow Twitter in the courtroom of a racketeering gang trial.   Now, Twitter has been allowed in some courtroom’s for about a year, but this trial will attract a ton of attention as the profile runs even higher with Twitter awareness.  For any of you who STILL have not investigated Twitter, head over to my page to get an idea of how it works.  Basically, imagine me getting the concept of this entire blog in 140 characters and sending it immediately out to the world through the Twitter network.  It is called micro-blogging, and it is so exciting because of the immediate broad reach of this new form of communication.

So this post, in micro-blog form would be something like this: 

“Twitter, becomes stealth media. Federal gang trial attention skyrocketing. Brings public into the courtroom. Judge applauded by Tweeters.”

The reporter, Ron Sylvester, has been covering state trials using Twitter, but this is the first federal trial to allow live Tweeting during the trial.  If it were televised, we could all watch it — but by him being “at the scene” and tweeting in the moment, we get perspective and opinion that you would never get from an overview report, or blog post at the end of the day.

Lawyers are BESIDE themselves with worry over tainting the jury, but the judge accepts Twitter as part of media.  As a matter of fact, blogging is already considered in the general umbrella of media and Twitter is definitely part of that.  What I like is that ground-breaking news can reach the world in 140 characters and click.  What is the latest in the Senate?  Head over to Twitter and search the latest bill you want to hear about.  What is the latest gossip on Chris Brown (that slug)?  Head over to Twitter and type in “Rihana beating”.  Want to hear about AIG becoming a penny stock?  Ditto.  And you aren’t just hearing from any old anyone. You will hear from the decision-makers, now using Twitter to keep their constituents, clients, and public informed.  Latest rumors?  check.  GM deal with the Feds?  Check.  Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?  Someone will want to talk.  Just wait.  It has only just begun.  Stealth media.  You heard it here, first.  😉

Meet my world! Bloggers’r’us…

Online networking to in-person networking…tons’o’fun.  One of the most rewarding aspects of the internet is that you can get free education and informed opinion with a simple mouse-click.  What I love about blogging is developing relationships with my readers and creating networks and relationships with other bloggers.  It is rare that there is an opportunity to actually meet fellow bloggers and network in person.  Well, this past weekend, I had a great opportunity to meet bloggers from around the US and Canada and I want to share a few of their sites with you.  If you are like me, then your knowledge of the automobile industry and the different cars in each of the brands usually is garnered from consumer report research, word-of-mouth recommendations and comments, a magazine or two and a few test drives.

I’d like to share with you some of North America’s best and most influential bloggers (many in the auto industry and some not) …but I’ll never have trouble figuring out the difference between AWD and limited slip differental again!

They are a very talented group…head on over and check them out.

Bend, Stretch, Yoga to the Stars!

It’s all about online…and I missed out on a fantastic bloggers only conference interview of Anne Cushman, Yoga teacher and author, Enlightenment for Idiots. Not only has this book been described as “A hilarious take on the quest for truth” by Publisher’s Weekly, honestly, how often does a novel cover travel, India, pregnancy, motherhood, Yoga and the search for enlightenment? I may have missed the interview session, but I have the link to it for your listening pleasure. And it is fantastic. I took up yoga a couple of years ago and after I was finally able to touch my toes…well…just enjoy and see why us blogger types love these types of media confabs, especially when moderated by blogger conference guru and fellow blogger, Cynthia Samuels.

Gen Plus one of top 14 Boomer Blogs to Watch!

It’s always exciting to discover that someone new has picked up a tidbit of interest from what you have to say as a blogger. It’s also a wonderful feeling when you hit a note of resonance with an individual, a group, or in the case of Boomers and 50 Plussers…a collective. So it was with great delight that I discovered Gen Plus has been listed by PSFK (a global trends and innovation company) as 1 of their top 14 boomer blogs to follow.

Very exciting to see how many of these great blogs I know and follow and I’ll bet you’ll know most of them:

Here they are (in no particular order, thank you very much!):

* 20plus30* Boomer* Aging Fabulous* Time Goes By* Libido & Health* Changing Aging* The Boomer Blog* The Boomer Chronicles* Older But No Wiser* Aging Maven* Always Question* Auxiliary Memory* GenPlus (that’s ME!)* Aging Hipster

I’m a big fan of all these bloggers. If you haven’t checked them out before, give them a try. If you particularly like a writer, subscribe to their blog for a daily (more or less) dose of inspired thought.

Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map — a look at the human emotions behind the science of assisted reproduction

It is rare that I can proudly share a profound, pivotal moment in the life of my family. And even rarer that I can share it with the rest of the world.

My mother, an accomplished, awarded writer (who has also guest written on this blog), has just published her new book, Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map. As someone who promotes the efforts of the Boomer and 50 plus demographic, it blows me away that my 70-something mother shares so deeply, so passionately, her thoughts and philosophies through the written word (and yes…I’m a character in the book.) Not only that, but with a zest for life, an energy for forward momentum that pushes me to my own forward movement.

I ask you, supportive readers, to extend your support to her efforts. I’ve attached the press release below (the public release goes out tomorrow) and for any of you in the Los Angeles area who would like to join us for the LA launch, we’d love to have you there! Email me and I’ll put your name on the list so you’ll get a reminder evite.

Corinne Heather Copnick invites you to join her in celebrating

the publication of her new book

Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map

A seventy-something Grandma barely survives her career-driven daughters’ quest for children and discovers a heartwarming new definition of family.
Thought-provoking, humorous and inspiring!

“…a remarkable job of demystifying the increasingly common experience of using a sperm donor.” — California Cryobank, Los Angeles

Author talk, book signing and refreshments. Please join us!

Sunday, March 9th
2:00 pm
Dutton’s Brentwood Books
11975 San Vicente Blvd.
LA, CA 90049
Take a look, purchase the book for someone you know who has gone through assisted reproduction, someone who is thinking about it, or someone who is mother, father, relative or friend. It’s a tough road and educating others about the changing family concept together with the emotional hurdles of going through assisted reproduction is vital as our technology continues to outpace our capacity to process the emotions that necessarily ride alongside it.
Sneak peek — PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Publication February 3, 2008

CRYO KID:
DRAWING A NEW MAP

An inside look at the human emotions behind the technology.
The little seven-year-old girl born to a single mother through an anonymous donor from a sperm bank never met her Daddy, so she doesn’t miss him. That’s what she tells curious people who ask. She is a cryo kid—the word “cryo” is short for cryogenics. As readers of CRYO KID: DRAWING A NEW MAP, a just published book by Corinne Heather Copnick, roller coast through the human side of technological ups and downs with the cryo kid’s seventy-something grandma (the author, who barely survives her career-driven daughter’s quest for children), they discover a heart-warming new definition of family.
From Grandma’s perspective, the author explores the exponential transformation that has taken place in families in her lifetime, as well as the infertility crisis currently being experienced by career women who waited too long to have children.
Against the backdrop of three cities, Montreal, Toronto, and Los Angeles and inspired by true experience, CRYO KID is, in fact, written from several perspectives: the voices of Grandma, her daughter, the grand-daughter (a gifted child who adds so much joy to their lives), and the sperm donor. Unexpectedly, eight siblings are discovered across the country, and the donor reveals himself.
Written with insightful humor and a sense of wonder, CRYO KID is intended to be educational, positive, and eye-opening. It asks this question: How do we maintain our values in an exponentially changing world? “Corinne Copnick does a remarkable job of demystifying the increasingly common experience of using a sperm donor,” attests the California Cryobank. “Her warm, caring account of her own daughter’s story provides a compelling introduction into the possibilities and responsibilities … as the field of assisted reproduction technology grows.”

Available at Amazon.com, bn.com (Barnes and Noble), other online booksellers, and ordered through major bookstores. Author autographed copies available through cryokid.com

L.A. Book Signing!
CRYO KID will be launched in Los Angeles at Dutton’s Brentwood Books, 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049 (310.476.6263) on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 2 P.M. (everyone welcome).

For further information, please contact Corinne Copnick by email or telephone (818.345.1531). Coverage and interviews will be greatly appreciated. The author is available for online or offline promotion.

¨

Boomer Career Issues — An Issue in the 2008 Election Year…

Amy Zuckerman (my co-developer of the virtual business and career survey running on Eons.com) has just passed along her breaking press release — and you’re reading it here first. (If you scroll down, down, down, you’ll find yours truly quoted — always getting a word in on behalf of the 50 plusser jobseeker!)

VIRTUAL WORKFORCE AND CAREER EXPERTS URGE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO FOCUS ON BOOMER CAREER RETIREMENT ISSUES

Warn of an “Avalanche of Need” that Could Sweep the U.S. For Financially Strapped Boomers

Burke, Va. – Jan. 24, 2008 — With the U.S. and global economy gyrating, national experts in career transition and the virtual, home-based workplace are urging all presidential candidates to place the needs of retiring boomers among their top priorities, particularly in regard to career retraining, small-business development and management support where there is evidence of growing demand for assistance.

Don Wilson, president and CEO of the Association of Small Business Development Center Network (ASBDC), representing 1,000 service centers nationwide that provide no-cost consulting and low-cost training to half a million small businesses annually, says he is grateful for this year’s $10 million increase to ASBDC’s budget. However, he points out that the amount is a drop in the bucket compared to demand his centers are starting to experience from retiring boomers seeking help starting or growing small enterprises to augment their incomes during retirement.

“The candidates are talking about education and here we are offering education for businesses,” said Wilson, adding that the ASBDC was level-funded from 2000 until 2007. Despite the recent budget increase, he said in today’s dollars ASBDC needs at least $115 million “to have the same buying power as we did in 2001. We actually served fewer counseling clients at a national level in 2006 (no numbers were available for 2007), which was down from 2005,” and this is despite the fact that the first wave of boomers hit retirement age in 2007.

“For the past five or six years, we’ve been seeing an increasing number of older Americans coming in. As they reach retirement age, they want part-time work, or they say they want to start a home-based virtual business, a small manufacturing, or retail brick and mortar business,” explained Wilson. Many have broad experience or great skill sets, “but need business management knowledge,” he said, adding that “this does not come automatically.”

By virtual business, Wilson is referring to a small business that relies on advanced technology to operate, whether from a home, a rental office or elsewhere.

Georgianna Parkin, vice-chair of ASBDC’s board of directors and state director for the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is also witnessing “a continual increase each year among boomers who want to start a business. Some expand from hobbies, some for social reasons and others due to a perceived need in the market.”

When asked if SBDC funding was adequate to meet projected boomer career or business counseling needs nationally, Parkin said “absolutely not.” She pointed out that it was “critical to keep these boomers employed and active contributors to the economic base. Otherwise, we could have a population in debt, as well as ignoring the tremendous talent this population possesses.”

Those serving boomers on websites and in private practices are equally concerned, particularly given the many boomers who are purported to be in debt. Amy Zuckerman, an award-winning author and consultant based in Amherst, Mass. who was recently profiled on CNN.com (12/17/07), warns candidates of an “avalanche of boomer need” that is about to sweep the country. Through the many blogs and groups she manages on boomer social networking sites such as EONS.com, Multiply, and TeeBeeDee.com, she is encountering many older boomers struggling to survive on Social Security and dwindling revenue.

“With boomers starting to retire in 2007 and many in debt, I am deeply concerned about the future. While the media and candidates are focusing a great deal on health care, which is positive, they are missing the enormous need for career retraining, as well assistance to the millions of boomers who are telling pollsters they intend to start their own businesses during retirement,” said Zuckerman who also writes the blog: “Living a Virtual American Dream” (http//:www.virtualdream.amyz-blogspot.com).

She points to new data from a pilot Virtual Business and Careers survey currently housed on her EONS.com “Building a Virtual Company” group page (URL below). Preliminary findings, based on a sampling of EONS members, indicate that 77 percent of EONS respondents plan to operate a small, home-based business during their retirement years.
(The survey can be found at http://www.eons.com/survey/welcome/10.)

Although numbers from mid-December to the first week in January were based on a sample of only 170, they correlate with earlier polls by Yahoo.com and MassInc’s Commonwealth Magazine, as well as anecdotal reporting from Newsweek’s “Boomer Files.” All of these regional and national sources have indicated that a majority of boomers – between 60 and 75 percent – plan to run home-based, virtual companies of various types when they are in retirement.

“The problem for many boomers, particularly those who have always worked for an employer, is that they don’t have a clue about how to make money outside of a full-time job,” said Zuckerman, who was the Small Business Administration’s 2005 Home-Based Business Champion for New England and Massachusetts. “They don’t know how to manage their time, manage technology, or market themselves. And many are falling prey to scam artists promising them a solid income from web-based schemes.”

Zuckerman says she is pleased to see a new bill – The Parents’ Tax Relief Act of 2007 – including tax incentives for those working at home. However, she points out that polls she has conducted with the members of Hidden-Tech (www.hidden-tech.net), an organization she founded in 2002, and from interviews nationwide, indicate that many boomers and others are operating virtual enterprises outside the home. “I’m concerned that that this bill will not assist many in the burgeoning virtual economy who do not operate strictly from their homes,” she explained.

“The government,” Zuckerman said, “needs to drastically beef up funding for boomer retraining through the ASBDC’s small business development centers, as well as the SCORE program. And Congress needs to redraft the U.S. Census to gather data on the virtual economy, as a whole, and not focus solely on home-based companies.”

Wendy Spiegel, founder of GEN PLUS ™ – Reinventing 50 Plus (www.genplususa.com) in the Los Angeles area, cautions that “over the past several years of receiving e-mails from mature workers desperate for employment, it is clear that we are still five years or more away from large numbers of employers being truly willing to hire-or recruit for-a 50 plusser.” Spiegel, who authors the popular Gen Plus blog (http://genplus.blogspot.com) and, like Zuckerman, has been an expert blogger on EONS.com, collaborated with Zuckerman in developing the survey that appears on the EONS.com site.

She believes that “as a result of the employment challenges and lack of financial security facing the mature worker, more and more jobseekers are going to have to find alternative ways to make a living. Multi-channel careering is going to become the new boomer trend, and that includes a significant increase in virtual industry, flex jobs, telecommuting, and virtual contact center positions.”

On the flip side of the job coin, businesses will be “facing a massive talent shortage as all these boomers move out of full-time employment,” said Charlie Grantham, co-founder of Work Design Collaborative and the Future of Work program with bases in California and Prescott, Ariz. “Companies will have to turn to the boomers as a part-time labor force,” he said, “but the boomers won’t be willing to commute to central-city corporate offices. We’re going to have to learn how to manage a widely distributed work force whose members have a very different set of values and expectations about how, when, and where they work.”

“We need a ton of new public policies to deal with this massive transformation in the workforce,” argued Jim Ware, co-founder with Grantham of the Work Design Collaborative and the Future of Work program. “Work force development programs will have to include post-65ers, and we should be rethinking Social Security, health care, and 401K programs to be sure they meet the needs of both employers and all these ‘free-agent’ seniors,” he says.

Chaa…ching. Money talk, for women

I was unable to take part in a blogger news conference last week on the Pax World Women’s Equity Fund with Sujatha Avutu and Julie Fox Gorte. However I was delighted to get a few of my questions asked in my absense and here is the link for any of you who would like to get some top notch education first-hand (or should that be “cyber”hand?) The purpose of the news conference was to brief bloggers on issues surrounding investing strategies for women, making policy-aware investments and the nature of a mutual fund committed not only to the financial bottom line but to the ethical one as well.

For those of you who do not stay on top of what goes on in the financial world, this is a must-listen. This is a lively discussion and filled with fantastic information on social investing, sustainability, micro-investing and on and on. This is named a women’s fund because their is a service focus on the gender needs of the client and the type of information that women must be aware of as they invest, however, the fund is open to all. I love these types of e-conferences. Bloggers really offer an exciting form of new media (vs. traditional media) — they are not beholden to anyone other than their own personal mission or direction — and as such they are determined to source the best information they can get for their readers. This conference is no exception.