Posted in Politics, SocialMedia, Uncategorized

State of the Nation: Public Service, Politics and Social Media

Regardless of your personality type, religious background, nationality, gender, sexual preference, political leaning or income level, you are first a human being.  If you’re in this country, benefiting from a democratically organized and administered society (legally or undocumented) … you are still a human first–deserving of respect!

humanrights-tweet

As a citizen, defined by Merriam-Webster as:  “a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it”, there is an inherent obligation by each citizen to be a loyal participant of that society, its laws, and the practices of administering it’s “govern”-ment.  Government is defined as:  “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”  Our system is set up to allow both federally through elections, and locally through legislatures, councils, boards, and committees.

It is unfortunate how few people vote in our country when so much is at stake.  What I find even more appalling is how many people choose to get their information for decision-making from unsupported claims posted on social media outlets, hot-heads on talk-radio, and biased daily news shows.

How can YOU participate and be an active contributing citizen of our society?

Before new Federal laws are implemented, they are posted for public review and comment by anyone with access to a web browser (which is everyone, because public libraries have computer labs.)  If you’ve never visited the site–it can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/   No excuses for any of us to complain that we never had a say (for or against) legislation that has become law.

Every state has a website to make public the issues and legislation being proposed.  In my own state that site is:  http://nebraskalegislature.gov/  Google your state name and the word Legislature to find your state government’s administrative resources.  My state has a link to live-streaming of legislative sessions.  You can search for your congress or senate representatives, schedule an appointment to take a tour, view the legislative calendar, view past transcripts,  or find telephone numbers to speak with your representatives.

Of course there is always traditional media (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, BBCNews and the other major news networks) to help you evaluate elected officials backgrounds and attempt understanding the issues being discussed.  But as you may realize, there is a LOT of spin on what is being presented as “truth” (sound bites pieced together to lead you to believe something shocking–yet totally out of context).  You also should not be duped into believing everything you read.  If you want to be an informed citizen and vote by fact, not feeling…here are a couple of other sites you might consider:

https://www.govtrack.us/ (Federal)
http://www.voterinformation.org/ (Nebraska local) – Your state may have a similar site.

November 8th is right around the corner.  Depending upon what news you read, you just might believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  There is a lot wrong in our government, but it is still a lot better than most governments.  There is always room for improvement, but it requires we be engaged, aware, involved, actively participating in this democracy.

Just because you hopefully voted during the last election cycle does not mean your job as a citizen is done.  You must observe your government in action and participate in this democracy to make it work for you.  If you don’t approve of local, state or federal decisions, use the processes put in place for you to engage and make your voice heard.  The links provided in this post are a starting point.

If you do not like the current state of government at the state or federal level, you have a right…no, a responsibility, to get involved and contribute.  Regardless of what you think of her, Elizabeth Warren said it best, “a constitution does not sustain itself.”  Prove your loyalty to this great nation, educate yourself and get involved.

Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia

Collaboration and Future Technology Adoption

Understanding of culture and trust are critical to successful collaboration! Collaboration is about relationships and people…yet

• Teenagers would rather text than make a phone call
• Tech savvy GenX folks would rather chat than email
• Gamers would rather gamify problems than attend another meeting
• YouTube is our teacher, Google & Twitter is our Oracle; Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and About.me expand our ever-growing sense of community
• Will we accept digital spouses?
• Will we choose to allow those who pass to be kept alive (“life-like” in a hologram) digitally after death?

In a world where …

• Cars drive themselves; refrigerators report our shopping list to the local grocer delivery service; and electronic records automation free up more of our time in our future domestic lives

• Through business intelligence back ends…. Status and Readiness Dashboards will keep our leaders informed; menu option decision-making will save time; machines will take over many more of our manual labor processes; and technology will help us defend our skies and borders.

What will we do with more free time? …

Collaboration can help us as global citizens engage more in the exploration, discovery, governing, and opportunities to search for solutions to humanitarian and ethical challenges like our founding fathers envisioned….a civic-minded community. Collaboration combined with technological advancements will transform us from an information to a cognitive society.

However, we need to find collaboration and automation solutions that build security into our capabilities! Adoption is often slow because of a distrust in our technology to protect our personal privacy and our nation’s secrets.

This post is meant to make you think and ponder about where we are headed. What are the implications of the choices we’re making today? What do you think about how we are handling our advancements thus far?

Cheers

Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Technology, Wellness

What Would I Chance if I Could Not Fail?

An acquaintance on social media asked me “what would I chance if I knew I would not [fail] fall?” Here’s my response…

– Do away with the two-party system (Republicans/Democrats)

— Require that elected representatives vote their conscience, instead of a corporate/party position

— Return power and decision making to municipalities and states; but include states in setting, planning, and achieving nationally voted priorities and objectives

– Develop and fund a national & global vision for medical and space research

– Find ways to reduce the cost of medical care (comparable case study~SpaceX vs $huttle program)

– Eliminate hunger and homelessness!

– Immediate removal from power/control any national leader who inflicts pain, injury or death to their people

– Re-market the care, availability and necessity of treatment for those suffering from mental health issues

– Reform education in all aspects: costs, management, delivery, consumption options

– Draw a line in the sand regarding energy reform to invest in the protection of our planet at all cost

That’s what came to mind as I thought over the question…. I know it doesn’t sound personal…but to live in a world managed by the conditions above would make me truly feel safe, happy and proud of our humanity.

Cheers

Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Technology

Social Media in Healthcare and Local Government

Sharing the latest article I wrote for my Master’s in Public Administration course work at Bellevue University.  Check out the Healthcare Hashtag Project (link in references below).

This post offers a brief summary of an article found using the Elton B. Stephens Company (EBSCO) database on the use of electronic communications to serve clients of the healthcare industry.

Today’s technology allows many opportunities for patient-centered care.  Email, text messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer today’s nurses a chance to modernize healthcare practitioner methods of patient interaction.  The article cites a Pew Research Center study reporting 85% of American’s are online, and 55% of these people are using mobile devices (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).  These statistics suggest a public ready for new methods of interacting with healthcare providers.

Using modern communication technologies, nurses can educate the public about four changeable behaviors, identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as negatively affecting the health of Americans:

  • Lack of Exercise
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Nurses are in the best position to use technology to improve the health and communications practices between healthcare providers and patients.  “Experience suggests that nursing leaders–and those who discover they can lead in this way–will seek the opportunities and efficiencies that electronic connections afford both their patients and them (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).”  If nurses are in the best position to use technology in modernizing healthcare service delivery, could these same practices be applied to public administration?

City governments have access to the same no-cost solutions as other for-profit organizations.  YouTube and other social media offers free platforms for broadcasting and disseminating local government activities.  A quick search for local municipalities’ use of technology proves there is still a lot of room for improvement by our local governments.  The City of Papillion is a great example of a local government instituting best practices using electronic communication.

Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video
Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video

To remain relevant as a governing body, public administration must follow communication methods of the people governed.  “If conversation norms govern how often we talk and with whom, there are other structures that govern what we talk about and how we talk about it, not only in conversations but also in media and other communication modes (Gastil, 2008, p. 226).”

References:

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
https://www.facebook.com/CityofPapillion

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from https://twitter.com/CityofPapillion

Gastil, J. (2008). Political communication and deliberation. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications, Inc.

Papillion City Council for November 19, 2013 [Video file]. (2013, November 20).
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=H6eRVtopGiY&feature=share&list=UUJtw2GjLfFIAueHjKT-1rdA

The healthcare hashtag project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/

Weaver, B., Lindsay, B., & Gitelman, B. (2012). Communication technology and
social media: Opportunities and implications for healthcare systems.
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.3912/
OJIN.Vol17No03Man03

Posted in Education, SocialMedia

Seasons of Change

Taken from the walking bridge over the Elkhorn River in Nebraska.
Taken from the walking bridge over the Elkhorn River in Nebraska.

The fall season is at its peak of beauty in many places and we’re about to be plunged into the grips of winter!  As we transition from one season to the next, so goes my blog.

The tenor and content of my blog posts will likely take on a new tone for a while during my Public Administration studies.  I’m enrolled in a 16-month accelerated Master’s Program at Bellevue University.  So far, I’m really enjoying the class.  The first term is dealing with nonprofits and grant writing.  We have a practical class exercise we are actually accomplishing in real life with Omaha‘s Open Door Mission.  Our project team members are writing a grant to gain funds for unmet needs at Open Door Mission.  This project is for one of the three courses of our first term.

The other two courses in our first term focus on Foundations in Public Administration, and Communications in the Public Sector.  We have just completed the foundations course.  The foundations course had us reviewing how government at all levels manages budgets, implements policies and deals with crisis.  Conducting case study reviews, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about situations like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Columbine Shootings, and other events.  We are now moving into the communications in the second half of our term.  This course deals with what we (the public) experience in communications from media, conversations, discussions and debate.  I’m very curious to share and learn from you about your understanding of how our beliefs and decisions are shaped through media.

Considering I do have a family, a full-time job and I’m pursuing my Master’s….there isn’t a lot of time.  I will however, try to use this platform to share with you the fun, surprising, and disturbing.  I’ll also share opportunities (resources) for you to become more informed about what I’m learning.  I hope you find my posts during this course of study useful and educational.  I will still occasionally post reflective and personal notes….however, my focus is currently on my studies.

On the personal side of life, my twin daughters have had their braces removed, they’re both driving, and engaged deeply in their studies at Metro Community College.  My son just turned 14 on Veteran’s Day.  My wife is still educating our son at home and slowly regaining a bit of “personal time” back into her life.  Digesting these facts and assimilating all of these changes is dizzying at times.  I’m looking forward to a break from everything around the holidays.

I hope life is treating you well.  Be kind to yourself.  Take a moment and count your blessings.  Be safe and look out for one another.

Cheers

Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia, Technology, Wellness

Viewer Discretion is Advised

I received feedback from those on my Facebook page that the picture I’m including here should have come with a warning. So, if you’re eating something, you might want to wait to read this.

Back on January 10th, I slipped and fell on black ice in a parking lot at work. A couple hours later I was in the hospital getting x-rays due to the enormity of pain & swelling. Because initially, there was no indication of a break in the bones…I was released with pain meds, told to elevate & ice and I should recover in time.

A follow-up appointment in February yielded another x-ray due to continued pain & swelling. Finally, around April, due to no explanation for continued swelling I received a referral to a podiatrist! After examination, I was given an appointment to have an MRI. After a whole month, at last, I received authorization through the VA health care system for a surgical consult from downtown doctors.

This appointment with a foot/ankle specialist at Ortho West revealed that not only had my ligaments been ripped off my ankle back in January, but on that day I received a fracture to my Tibia, as well as a 3cm vertical tear in my right peroneal brevis tendon. Because the fracture was never diagnosed or treated (getting off of my foot long enough for the fracture to heal), scheduling myself for the tendon repair would give me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! So, finally, on 8 July I was scheduled for the procedure~a couple of hours and 16 staples later, I was on my way to begin recovery.   If you want to take a look at exactly what happened in my case…I’m pasting a url to a YouTube video of the procedure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU7e669fZLA. If you have a weak stomach at all I don’t recommend you watch it.

Picture of the finished work on 8 Jul

Right Peroneal Brevis Tendon Repair!

What it looked like at home until 11 July!

Bandaged

Freed from the bandage 12 Jul

Reclining

Today, 15 July is the first full week post op!  I’m thankful to be home in my own environment, but this procedure took a lot more out of me than I ever could have predicted.  I’m thankful for a great family who has catered to every need…and to everyone out there on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & LinkedIn who’ve sent messages and posts of encouragement and support!

OrthoWest, the Orthopedic specialists, and the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital staff were fabulous.  I haven’t ever encountered a hospital workflow system that put people first like these two health care establishments do.  Their business processes, Information Technology and automation solutions were designed with the patient’s needs in mind.  If you need orthopedic consultation, I highly recommend this team of professionals!

I have spent my recovery time using distraction techniques like reading, being deeply engaged in social media, listening to my wife read to the family during lunch times, watching a few videos with the kids, listening to Pandora and sleeping!  I am so thankful for my family and the network of friends across the globe who’ve taken the time to inquire about my status and post notes of encouragement.  Many of these friends I’ve known for a couple of years now but have never met in person (thinking of a lot of #UsGuys pals).  This is just one example of how social media can be extremely helpful to the emotional well being of individuals.

Apologies if this post was a little disturbing (pictures/video) but when you have many people asking what happened…how’s it going…a blog is the best way to speak once~inform many!  I thank you for reading!  Hope you all are well and in great health!

Cheers

Posted in Business, SocialMedia

Socially Speaking – #UsGuys Connections

Lois Creamer
Lois Creamer

This last Tuesday evening, I had the privilege of a telephone discussion with a dear friend I’ve only known from an online interaction over the last couple of years.  We are both part of an online community called #UsGuys on Twitter and Facebook!  If you see the #UsGuys hashtag in your Twitter stream rest assured you are seeing the digital exhaust of some extremely social savvy people.

Each night around 10:00pm there’s a ritual known as #Nightshift #CheckIn.  I haven’t been as consistent in my check-ins due to the pace of life, but I know that any evening where time permits; I can jump into the stream and connect with other socially interested professionals.  My friend and I both discovered that we loved the old show, Walton’s Mountain that used to be a weekly television show in the 80’s.  So, I would bid her goodnight by saying good night Mary Ellen….she would respond by saying “good night John Boy!”  Its amazing how many incredible people I have met over the last couple of years in this group!

So, let me introduce to you my Mary Ellen ~ Lois Creamer is a professional speaker!  She’s quite the accidental entrepreneur!  She decided when she became a mother that her focus was her child.  Her time would be dedicated to pouring her passion and love into being a parent.  When her child entered school and she had some free time during the day, someone informed a gentleman who had a professional speaking business that Lois would make a great assistant.  He called her and asked her to come speak to him.  Although he was looking for full-time help, he finally relented to her firm offer of part time hours that would still allow her to be there for her child before and after school.

She was a quick study and after several years decided there was an opportunity for her to develop a business of her own on the speaking circuit.  15 years later, Lois Creamer is an invaluable resource consulting professionals and business teams from all over!  She traveled much of her early career but lately has been able to bring more clients to her town of St Louis, Missouri.  If you’ve never visited that part of the country you’re missing out.

I shared with her my future aspirations about the entrepreneurial  life and she encouraged me to consider talks in different venues.  “One of the best ways to spread the word about your business is to find opportunities to speak about it!”  She encouraged me, as she does others, to join my local Toastmaster‘s group to gain experience.  Because I’m a huge TED Talk fan, Toastmasters sounds like a great boot camp for the TED Talk big-time! 😉  Anyway, our phone conversation was our first connection beyond the electrons emanating from our screens I’ve had with Lois.  I’m forever stunned at how true to the personality I’ve come to know via our electronic connection is reflected in the real life connections.  I mentioned this fact to her about my Tweetup experience in the Twin Cities and how amazing that was.  If you or your business have not taken the social media plunge you’re missing out on some valuable connections you may otherwise never make.

So, for the readers out there, be encouraged if you too are considering your hand at an entrepreneurial endeavor.  Follow Lois on Twitter….and Lois’ blog at BookMoreBusiness for expert advice and practical assistance on how to achieve your dreams.