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).”


City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from

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

The healthcare hashtag project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from

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).

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: 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!


Freed from the bandage 12 Jul


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!


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.

Posted in Business, SocialMedia

Younger Skin & Profits to Boot!

Lexus RX350
Lexus RX350 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post isn’t about me!  Its a story about continued and proven success in sales!  Its about my sister, Peggy Pearson!

Rodan & Fields Level 5 Skin Care & Dermatology Consultant
Rodan and Fields Level 5 Skin Care and Dermatology Consultant

Peggy has been working in sales for 33 years!  In every venture she’s quickly worked her way into the top tier of best selling consultants and sales reps.  She’s done it again…and this time she’s about to earn a Lexus RX350!  She has become a Skin Care and Dermatology Level 5 Executive Consultant with Rodan & Fields!  You can visit her site here:

This year, their company has come out with an amazing product called the Redefine Macro Exfoliator! This product is an amazing “in-home” microderm abrasion hand-held device that removes dead skin cells!  Two visits to your dermatologist and you’ve paid for the product!  It was so popular they quickly sold out…but not to worry, it will be in stock again in 13 days!  Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields have developed the patent pending technology that enables an incredible clinically proven visible improvement to the appearance of your skin after only one use!

Peggy has developed an amazing team of consultants, and is quickly rising in the ranks!  She’s involving social media as an aspect of her outreach to grow her team.  Follow her on Twitter @pjpearsn … she’s garnered a list of over 370 other consultants (R+F Consultants), as well as reached out in her local community to curate a list of Arkansas Social Savvy businesses and professionals!  You can take advantage of these resource by clicking on the hyper-linked lists in the previous sentences and subscribe.

If you’re looking to find a virtual mentor in the sales arena…Peggy is the one to watch!  If you have an entrepreneurial side to you and are looking to change a few things in your life–perhaps younger looking and healthier skin is your thing?  The profits aren’t too shabby either!


Posted in Business, SocialMedia

How to Manage & Increase Your Twitter “Following” @ No Cost

This blog is the result of a light bulb coming on after observing some personal angst/confusion about “how” to be an effective follower.  My last post on this topic “What IS a Follower” in 2010 still has merit.  But I’ve decided that another post might help those of you who ask “How do I get beyond the limit of being able to follow 2000 tweeps?”

Remember, like I said in another post in 2010 about “Why I Tweet” I’m not here to “sell you anything” or make you chase annoying adds about some quick get rich course.  I’m here to help minimize confusion and guide newcomers along this social media landscape.  I’ve been “Twittering” and blogging for several years now and enjoy sharing what I learn.

So, onto the meaty part of this post.  How can I manage my throttled Twitter “Following” budget and still attract new followers?  There are two ways to “follow” twitter users.

  • The approach of pushing the “Follow” button on a users’ profile may or may not result in them following you back.  Remember the value of a Twitter account is in increasing the number of people your message can reach.  Every time you push that button you move the total number of people you can follow to some strange ratio of following to followers ratio that Twitter has set on each Twitter account.  So how do you get more followers once you’ve reached the 2,000 limit or that magic ratio limiter?
  • Another technique of “following” involves a couple of additional steps but is well worth your time.  List creation is one of the best ways to recognize people their profession or passion.  By creating a List with a catchy title (category), you can add people to your list (in effect, a behavior that allows you to consume the thoughts (tweets) of people who interest you.  The best thing about this form of “following” is that it does not count against your follower limits.  You’re not “following” them using the button method, your following them using a more powerful method of expertise management.

For example, some day I will complete a lifelong goal of publishing a book.  So I used that goal and Twitter as a resource to create a “Writeminds” list.  On this list of authors (hobbyists, newly published, seasoned authors and publishers) I have added over 400 Twitter user accounts who have identified themselves as being writers, bloggers, authors, publishers, or screen/script writers.

Here’s the magic/value of this form of following over mashing the “Follow” button:  By adding a Twitter user to a list I accomplish four simple things:

  1. I have recognized the aspirations or activities of an individual for something they are devoted to or passionate about.  Who doesn’t love to be recognized for their desire to become something they are working towards?
  2. I have created a simple way to better manage my time in searching for content related to a particular topic; in this example what are writers working on, talking about, sharing, revealing?  Its better than Google search results–I can make contact with the horses mouth.
  3. I have established a connection with expertise I could not have easily encountered by walking through town or browsing the phone book looking for “people” who might have the ability to help me along my journey.
  4. I have created value for others!  Anyone can subscribe to my “Writeminds” list and take advantage of the resource.  My list of authors most likely will not be the same as your list of authors so you can create your own and subscribe to mine.

When you “follow” people by curating a list of Twitter users who identify themselves with something that interests you, you immediately expand your virtual family with other birds of your same feather.  You also reward the individual you “follow” by recognizing their contributions!  The best part is, because you have recognized another’s talent, time & effort, many can’t resist following you by the easiest method out there (mash the button).  So, your follower count begins to rise because others begin to recognize you as someone who is offering something with no expectations in return.

Social media for professionals is a value based proposition founded in charity.  Go out of your way to make someone’s day.  Build a list, start adding people to the list and watch your follower count grow!  The greatest benefit of this behavior is you now can quickly stay abreast of topics that interest you with these interest “channels (lists)”  you’re creating on Twitter!  If happen to make (in real life~telephone, email, in person) contact with the people you follow using the list method, feel free to spend some of your follower limit by mashing that “Follow” button.

I’m interested in hearing how this method works for you~please share.


Posted in Relationships, SocialMedia

“Social” Media ~ A Review of the #USGUYS TwinCities TweetUp

Get out your reading glasses, a box of tissues and prepare to ponder!

A little background first:  I’ve been tweeting with #usguys folks since the group formed.  Many have come and gone, but there are some regulars.  I have found “family” … a sense of “coming home” in my online connection with those who are regular participants of the nightly #Nightshift Checkin.  This process is usually led by @StephenCaggiano around 10pm nightly.  Between Libby Baker Sweiger ( @libbytalks ) and @ImMarkBernhardt, a Tweetup was planned in the Twin Cities for April 20th.  I had just finished reading @GabeBerman‘s book “Live Like a Fruit Fly” {click on the title and read my book review}  His perspectives and reminders about the preciousness of life sent me on a journey of self-examination.  Questions like am I happy?  Am I really doing what I want to be doing?  How appreciative am I of the things I have?  Do I show well to others gratitude for their participation in the liturgy (dance routine) of my existence?

My mind was made up!  I was going to drive the six hours North to meet IRL <– In Real Life, these wonderful people who Indications of Economic Improvementtweeted with persistence during our last storm that brought four dozen tornadoes through Nebraska.  They weren’t going to go to bed until they knew me and my family were “out of the woods!”  Where do you find friends like this who are not related to you?  I didn’t until #usguys.

So anyway, I scheduled a day off from work just to attend, booked a room, and made arrangements for care of our parrot (named DJ), and our adorable cat Clara!  We packed up and headed to Minneapolis / St Paul!  I was overwhelmed with the amount of trucker traffic!  If 18-wheeler activity is any indication of economic health, then good ole U.S. of A. has nothing to worry about!  The other noticeable thing about Iowa that impressed me while driving through was their message about being a leader in clean renewable energy!  We passed at least two huge wind farms on the East side of the highway on our way up North.  Our journey was without stress or vehicle troubles and we arrived at our Country Inn and Suites lodging in Woodbury, Minnesota a half hour before we were due to meet at Lakes Tavern and Grill!

Upon arriving at the Tavern with my wife and three children, we were shown to the area where the rest of #usguys were waiting to be seated.  Right away I recognized Libby, she looks exactly like her picture and her personality translates well in real life.  Stephen Caggiano was the same–genuine, sincere in an unassuming way.  Mark Bernhardt took me a little while to connect the dots because in his previous Twitter pic sported a cowboy hat!  Mimi Baker ( @MimiBakerMN ) was recognizable and her wittiness on Twitter translates into real life as well–great gal!  Sumner Musolf ( @SumnerMusolf ) took me a while to resolve because his Twitter pic didn’t show facial hair–the man has a beard! @MaryJTraviski was there long enough for introductions and had to leave–but I’m sure I’ll get to know her better on Twitter.

So, here’s what everyone looked like, sorry for the lighting in the group picture.  An elderly guy watching all these adults sitting around a table with other people, but their eyes focused on the phones in there hands offered help take a group photo when we began taking pictures of each other.  My son, Josh and his comic drawings were a hit with the crowd–everyone was gracious and Josh felt proud to receive accolades from people outside of the family.

So, keep in mind, I had just come off a two day affair…meeting with the whole group the night of the 20th at the Tavern.  The next day, my family and I met Mark Bernhardt at the Mall of America (which is an incredible, but noisy place) for lunch, and that evening we met Stephen Caggiano and Libby Baker Sweiger at Perkins Restaurant for dinner.

My faith in the goodness of mankind, was reaffirmed by the fact that the real life experience with these #usguys was just as rich as what I have experienced online.  Stephen is well connected in his social network, but extremely generous with his connections, experiences and advice.  Libby is sweet and a very deep feeling individual–a good listener (even though her Twitter handle is @libbytalks!)  Mimi Baker, a single mother of two boys, is bubbly and spontaneous!  Mark Bernhardt and Sumner were somehow familiar, very comfortable to be around….it really felt like a 20 year high school reunion.

Now, here’s the part where you may need a tissue! 

Earlier this week a dear friend in the #usguys family underwent surgery for cancer.  As you can imagine, the twitter stream was turbulent with tweets of concern, prayers, thoughts, and words of encouragement.  I find myself frequently throughout the day thinking about those who I regularly tweet with–ALL of them!

So two days ago, I was standing at the kitchen sink washing, listening to music on the radio and my mind drifted to — #usguys.  I became aware of the level of emotional energy I feel pouring through me when I tweet encouraging words to others, cheer colleagues and friends in their professional pursuits, inquire to others about how their day is going, etc!

That’s when it hit me, the realization that I don’t feel the same level of energy in my day-to-day relationships!  My biological family that I was born into, the family that my wife and I created, my friends, my colleagues….they are “here”….just like the pictures that hang on your walls, the nick nacks, the stacks of magazines you walk past everyday but no longer notice (value) because they’ve become part of the fabric or skin of your life.  We don’t pay attention to the fact we have skin until it dries out, itches, cracks, gets cut or banged!  Our minds are always searching for something new and exciting…it stops “seeing” what we already have (the known factor) that has become part of the periphery.  Perhaps that is what is so rewarding about social media…just like the words in a well written book, it carries you away from your three-dimensional existence that requires effort, time, energy beyond your own skin?  Whether it be a “New Interaction” on Twitter, or a new status update from someone on Facebook…these tools always keep something new & fresh in front of our eyes!

So, feeling NOT okay with these realizations, I decided to make a concerted effort to reexamine those in the here and now with the same curiosity, interest, value, and preciousness that I do with “new and effortless” connections with those in social media.  Perhaps its narcissism that makes social media relationships “easier?”  We find communications/communities of interest that echo our own passions, personality types and discover a mirror that affirms the “who & what” we think of ourselves.

I don’t like to think of myself as someone who takes others for granted or makes assumptions about others!  But if I look at my own behavior, I have to say I’m guilty, just as probably many of you are for how we manage relationships.  I’ve said for years that love is a verb…so determined to practice what I preach, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home last night from class to buy my wife a bouquet of flowers and a card to express my gratitude.  I am purposely choosing to look for the “new & exciting” in the “everyday” routines of life.   New and exciting is there ~ every day — dust doesn’t collect on things that get used (paid attention to) frequently–but it requires a conscious effort on our part to “see [to actively look]” it!

Sorry for the long post, but these thoughts cannot be confined to the “standard 300-500 word entry”  To all reading this post, if this message resonates with you, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

Peace out!

Posted in Book Reviews, Creativity, Relationships, Writing

A Book that Saved My Week! #LLAFF

Caribbean fruit fly (female)
Caribbean fruit fly (female) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t even remember how exactly we got connected, but Gabe Berman and I became Twitter followers of each other.  I tend to be in awe of people who actually put themselves out there…you know, in print for the whole world to “see!”  So, I saw this hashtag #LLAFF and got a little curious.  I did a search on the hashtag and found others thanking Gabe for sharing his wisdom in his book “Live Like a Fruit Fly.”  I couldn’t hold off any longer, I had to have it.  Last Friday night I ordered the book from and anxiously began my wait.

I received the book Monday evening and read the first few pages.  I read a little more on Tuesday…just enough to get me hooked.  By Wednesday I wanted to immerse myself but reality does hold priority.  Somehow between work and class I managed to squeeze in a few more pages.  Thursday, I had to meet an insurance guy at my rental property so I used the time waiting for him to show up to read more.  Tonight…I finished the book!

So my review is going to be more like a conversation I would have if Gabe were sitting across from me at Starbucks!  As I was reading the book, I took notes, wrote down questions, and reflections about his message.  Like I said in a tweet this evening…at times, I wanted to cry or give him a hug.  Other times, I felt like he is a “brother by choice” who was giving me an encouraging pat on the back to just go ahead and take those steps toward achieving my goal of becoming a writer.

So…here goes:

I love how you speak of “your destiny” as this virtual version of yourself that’s hanging out (like Jiminy Cricket) to consult with you, give you strength, a boost, confidence to make the best choice for yourself.

This particular quote of yours is one I’ll write on a pieces of paper to tape up on my mirror, in my car, and monitor at work:

“Keep your eyes, ears, and soul open.  Follow all leads.  Your destiny is closer than you think.” Gabe Berman

I love the story of your meeting the woman in the cafe!  Your insistent and ever present destiny telling you to get her business card and follow through with her invitation to send her some of your writing–eventually landing you the job at the Miami Herald!

Your breadcrumb concept is very meaty!  For me, having that mental association/description was affirming/reassuring.  I’ve been doing that same thing for years without having an understanding of why I do it.  For me, staying just a little bit longer here, or there…being “okay” with being lost or a little off my journey, or reading/listening to certain conversations, television shows, or demonstrations in a mall, collecting certain bits of information/facts, etc…may have seemed random or pointless (and annoying) to some.  But now I know that I’ve been “collecting breadcrumbs!”

I appreciate how you placed inspirational quotes at the end of each chapter…like this one from William Jennings Bryan “Destiny is no matter of chance.  It is a matter of choice:  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Thanks for verbalizing the steps to practicing the art of Active Appreciation!

The irony you described of switching through channels during 9/11 and seeing the Purple Dinosaur (Barney Show) captured well the feelings that hits me at times when I have experienced heart-stopping grief.  When death visits your circle of influence…it is so irritating how the rest of the world keeps right on spinning/moving/talking/carrying on as if “NOTHING” has happened!  Of course it is unavoidable and perfectly rational…but the part of me that’s connected to everyone and everything else just cries out in a silenced scream that begs the world to stop long enough to give two seconds to recognize that a presence among us has ceased to be animated in this time space.  To honor their participation in the dance of life.

I too loved the March of the Penguins movie!  When it finished, a profound sacred silence inhabited my soul…made me want to weep!  My mind raced to find an explanation why no matter how long I have lived, have I not discovered the steadfast devotion and focused purpose towards and between our kind in human society.  That movie shook my soul more intimately than sitting in a church for a year of Sundays ever could.

For those who haven’t read Gabe Berman’s book “Live Like a Fruit Fly” I won’t spoil it for you and reveal any more.  Hopefully this entry will give you enough interest and motivation to click the hyperlinked book title above and purchase your own copy.  Trust me, if you take the leap…like the writings of Kahlil Gibran, this will be a book you reference time and again.  It is written for our time, is sprinkled with Star Wars anecdotes, and is a mental comfort…. truly a pleasure and  joy to read.

Because of the last couple of weeks personal and professional challenges, this book came at the right time and saved me from sliding into a gray funk.  I hope you enjoy reading it and find it just as soul-quenching as I did.  Gabe is an interactive and engaging writer who is as approachable as his book makes him seem.  Go ahead, start following him on Twitter @GabeBerman  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention ladies….as of the publishing of this book…I think he is still an eligible bachelor!

Notes for Gabe:

You have a great friend in Rich!

Do you still tend bar?