Tag Archives: Facebook

Little Girl’s Perfect Little Story Will Make You Smile

Bella Ortega, flowers, sunflowers, kid, child, girl, garden, gardening, happy, smile, story elements, perfect little story

Bella blossoms along with her flowers. Click to make bigger.

Here’s a short story that can help all writers in our search for content.

My friend Evelyn Amaya Ortega posted this photo of her 8-year-old, Bella, on Instagram and Facebook with the following caption.

She planted the seeds. She waited patiently all summer as the plants grew… And grew… Getting taller and taller. This week, the flowers bloomed. #Happy

More than 140 people liked the photo on Facebook, including writer Karen Rosen who astutely noted, “That is a perfect 24-word story with illustration. It should be in a magazine.”

I agree. Evelyn’s short tale contains all the elements of a narrative. Character, location, conflict, rising action, climax — even a sweet denouement.

The next time someone tells you they don’t have enough material or space to craft a story, show him this.

In business writing, the same holds true under the content-marketing definition of story. The image and text are compelling, engaging and emotional. They could hold the interest of customers looking to buy flowers, seeds, tickets to a summer camp or even in a Public Service Announcement about good parenting and spending time with your kids.

Look at that face! That smile!

That’s a story, by any definition.


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Relax, Atlanta: Manuel’s Tavern Isn’t Going Anywhere

In the video, spokesman Angelo Fuster clears up the confusion about Manuel’s. 

Manuel's Tavern, Atlanta, bar, institution

Manuel’s Tavern on the corner of North and Highland is an institution. People ask me where I live, and I say, “Near Manuel’s,” and they say, “Oh, yeah, I love that place.”

Facebook and Twitter were all abuzz this morning over news about beloved Manuel’s Tavern being closed to make room for a new development on the corner of Highland and North avenues.

I was confused by the articles (from Creative Loafing, the Business Chronicle and the AJC) as well as the response from people on social media. I saw responses slamming the “news” as just one more example of how we don’t value anything here in Atlanta, how we toss aside our institutions for something new and shiny.

Those reactions didn’t jibe with how I took it, as a reasonable approach to improving and preserving an old spot that’s on a prime corner of real estate — especially after reading owner Brian Maloof‘s Facebook statement.

So I walked the two blocks down to Manuel’s for chili and a grilled cheese, and to get it clear for myself.

“This building is going to be here. This place is going to be here just as you see it now,” spokesman and longtime Maloof family friend Angelo Fuster told me. “This bar is gonna be here. These booths are gonna be here. Those walls are gonna be here.”

Seems this is just another example of people reacting on social media to headlines, assuming the worst, and popping off emotional responses. (Scroll down this Twitter feed to see some examples. There were plenty more on Facebook — “sad,” “end of an era,” etc…)

Manuel's Tavern, Atlanta, bar, institution

Where everybody knows your name…

The business remains with Maloof, son of the late founder Manuel Maloof, Fuster said. The property was sold, from Manuel’s Properties to Green Street Properties. The plan allows for a four-story development on the 1.6 acres but doesn’t mandate one, Fuster said. The new buildings will go where the large parking lots are now.

In his statement, Maloof said,

The land sale is part of a partnership deal with Green Street Properties to renovate our building on North Ave. and North Highland Ave., refurbish the tavern and also develop a neighborhood-scale, mixed-use development on the immediately surrounding property.

Under the agreement, I will continue to be the sole owner of Manuel’s, Green Street will become our landlord, and the tavern will have a long-term lease at its present site.

The sale will allow much-needed structural updates to the building, which is about 100 years old and has been home to Manuel’s since 1956. The bar will be closed during renovations for about three months next year.


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Remembering the First Word in ‘Social Media’

Jason Dominy, social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Atlanta, 2Do3D, social media, communications, friends, how to make friends, how to meet people, meeting people in real life, IRL

Jason Dominy, right, posts pictures to Facebook after meeting people like Mark Tioxon.

I was at a party recently. I knew about half the folks there and was having a nice time going from chat to chat. At one point, I paused to look around for the next conversation and saw another man across the snack table doing the same thing. I decided to introduce myself, but before I could, he called my name.

“Hi,” I said, walking over. “How do you know who I am?”

He said his name, and I recognized it.

“That’s right! We follow each other on Twitter and Instagram,” I said, thus beginning the next nice round of cocktail party conversation. Turns out he’s dating an old friend of mine, who was also at the party, and I introduced them to friends I had brought.

It reminded me of Jason Dominy, a new friend who’s making it his mission to keep the “social” in “social media.”

Project 2Dto3D

Two years ago, Jason started reaching out to Twitter connections – people he’d never met IRL (In Real Life) — and asking them to meet for coffee or lunch.

Jason Dominy, 2Dto3D, meeting people in real life, IRL, social media, Twitter, Facebook, friends, dating, Instagram

Jason with yours truly. He wrote that he liked my blog and asked to meet for coffee.

“I thought I was kind of silly that we live in the same city, we have a lot in common, I like what they have to say – and we’d never even sat down and talked.”

He says his goal is to connect with people in “real and relevant ways.” He’s met about 75 so far, and some have led to lasting friendships or business connections. He calls his effort 2Dto3D and has posted a photo album from the meetings on his Facebook page.

“People are tired of the façade that social media can give,” says Jason, a social media manager at an Atlanta agency. “Anything that gives you a chance to break that down, well, people are interested in that.”

What about you? Have you had similar instances of expanding your real-life contacts via Twitter, Facebook or other social media?

Or do you think this is still a way to avoid contact with actual people? That online “relationships” are just a way of self-isolating?

I like Jason’s efforts. I was glad he reached out to me and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him. And at that party a few weeks ago, Twitter and Instagram helped paved the way for some fun introductions.

Would they have happened anyway? Maybe, but an icebreaker is as an icebreaker does, right?

‘We’re both stunned’

Now here’s an example of a different kind.

UnknownI have a buddy in Miami who noticed over time that he had developed a Twitter friendship with someone he’d never met – someone who didn’t have a name or face on her bio. After naturally tweeting to each other about common interests for several months, my friend asked her to get together for a drink.

That was last fall.

They’ve been dating ever since.

“We were meeting up just for a beer, just because we both seemed interesting to the other,” my pal said. “I’d never seen her until the day I walked into that bar. It was definitely not a date, and neither of us had any ideas about this becoming romantic. We’re both stunned that it did.”

He said not everybody wants to have a wide-open public persona on the Internet, but meeting some of the people you interact with online can have positive outcomes.

“If it wasn’t for Twitter, I never would have fallen for ‘that total stranger I met on the Internet.’”

Ain’t nothing wrong with that.


 

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM! @jaycroftatl 

19 Examples of the Worst Jargon of 2014

jargonHere’s a lesson from the first day of the first writing class anyone ever took: Write to express, not to impress.

That should be simple enough to remember. But too often, we churn our way through clichés, jargon and other stale expressions that indicate we’re not interested in expressing ourselves – we’re just moving our lips or striking the keys.

Relying on jargon, acronyms and the like isn’t just annoying and lazy. It’s bad for business because it says: I do not care if you understand.

Jargon, Buzz words, Atlanta, Business, Corporate communications, language, clarity, stop saying these stupid thingsIt’s always good, easy fun to list ridiculous and overused words, non-words, phrases and gibberish that find their way into everyday discourse. Seems like most of it’s in business, doesn’t it? Corporate-speak can really kill English the most.

I’ve put together a list here of some of the Worst Jargon of 2014. I’m including a few examples that aren’t jargon exactly but remain crimes against the language. Thanks to friends and colleagues who contributed.

1. Learnings. An example: “John is back from his conference and will share some of his top learnings with us.”

2. Stakeholdering. I’m not sure, but I think it’s supposed to mean “relationship building,” or something like that.

3. Conceptualize. Have you used the Business Buzzword Generator? Try it now. It’s a hoot.

4. Skilling. This takes the “learning” example to the next depth. “The team will need some skilling on how to use the new processes.”

Mrs. Jones is the lady on Hudson Street... because a noun is a person, place or thing.

Mrs. Jones is the lady on Hudson Street… because a noun is a person, place or thing.

5. Ask. Here’s perhaps the worst, and perhaps most common, example of using a verb as a noun for no reason at all, except that you heard your boss doing it. Example: “When you go to the budget meeting, what will your main ask be?”

6. Choiceful. “When we’re making those decisions, we have to be really choiceful.”… I have no idea why anyone would ever say that, but people do it every day in Corporate America. See also: impactful.

7. Solution – as a verb. I’m not kidding. “We have a real challenge here, but we also know how we’re going to solution that.” Also: “update.”

8. Eventize. From a friend in Hollywood. An example: “We’re eventizing our entertainment slate.” Translation: We are airing this new show and it’s so incredibly hot that it’s going to be a big event, not just a regular TV show.

9. Utilize. Because “use” was out of town?

10. At the end of the day. Unless you’re in “Les Miz,” never.

11. Iconic. We used to call old movie stars “legendary.” Now, somehow, anyone of any note must be referred to as “iconic.” Stop, please.

Uhm... like, totally!

Uhm… like, totally!

12. Uh… and Uhm… Have these replaced “like” and “ya know” in conversation or business meetings and presentations?

13. Obviously – when it’s not obvious at all. If it is obvious, you probably don’t need to say so.

14. Ideate. “We should spend a little more time with the ideation on this…”  (Translation:  We still need to work on this, and some of that work will require creative thought.)

15. Swirl: “Our intent is to minimize the swirl on this one…”  (Translation: How do we keep the fewest number of people involved in this decision?)

16. Swimlanes: “We need to make sure everyone is clear on their swimlane and stays within it.”  (Translation:  Everyone needs to do what they are supposed to do and not spend time doing other people’s stuff.)

17. Hashtag. Use a hashtag, but stop saying it. With air quotes.

18. Mindshare. An editor friend sent that one. I have no idea.

19. Maximizer. Sounds naughty.

And here’s a fun piece with more examples on CNN.com. Oy!

Share your own examples. I wish I could incentivize you…

Chicken Wing Ice Cream? Bacon Dental Floss? 7 Flavor Experiments to Make You Go ‘Ick’ – Or Not

As families gather for their holiday feasts across the country, millions of Americans will look forward in particular to one enduring favorite side dish: the green bean casserole.

campbells_green-bean-casserole_s4x3_lgIt’s a staple, after all.

But it wasn’t always so. In fact, it was invented by a Campbell’s employee, one Dorcas Reilly, some 60 years ago.

Hard to believe, but canned soup, fried onion bits and green beans weren’t always a natural go-to combo. Now the dish sells millions of dollars in condensed mushroom goo every fourth quarter.

It’s in the spirit of Campbell’s immortal La Reilly, then, that we aren’t sure whether to chuckle, cringe or take a bite when we see things like these seven flavor experiments. Some are new, some are just new to us, and some are sure to be gone by the holiday season next year.

Or not.

With commentary from friends who are chefs, food writers or both, most of them offered during a lively group discussion on Facebook:

Cappuccino-Potato-Chips1. Cappuccino Potato Chips, from Lay’s, which also test-marketed Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa and Wasabi Ginger this year.

Reports Jill Silva, food editor of the Kansas City Star: “I left those cappuccino chips out in the newsroom – where every dish gets wiped clean – and I was accused of trying to poison my colleagues.”

Kristen Browning-Blas, until recently the food editor of The Denver Post: “I suppose marketing people know that consumers respond to wacky new taste sensations. I think American palates are so inured to the artificial burst of sweet-salt flavors that real food doesn’t taste right to them.”

images2. Bacon dental floss. Jill also notes the growing popularity of bacon-flavored additives, including this one.

maplebaconbeer3. Carlos Frias of The Palm Beach Post posted this on Instagram: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. From Funky Buddha, no less.

4. “Garlic ice cream is the latest craziness I’ve heard about,” says Meridith Ford, a pastry chef, former dining critic at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and currently a marketing consultant for Atlanta restaurants.

Crazy — or inspired? I think this one could work. I still dream of Hector Santiago’s avocado ice cream at his late Pura Vida. And I don’t even mind Richard Blais’s foie gras milkshake, which endures currently at his Flip Burger chain.

chicken-wing-ice-cream5. Chicken Wing Ice Cream. Here, though, we draw the line.

6. Kool-Aid Pickles, included by Susan Puckett in her book “Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler’s Journey through the Soul of the South.”

“They are a Mississippi Delta classic started years ago by kids in poor neighborhoods who would go into convenience stores after school and buy a pack of Kool-Aid, open it up and sprinkle it over a jumbo dill pickle,” Susan says.

Kool-Aid-Pickles“Then store owners saw an opportunity and started marinating them in different flavors. They are not for everyone, to say the least.

7. Frito’s Pizza at Papa John’s. Susan’s husband, Ralph Ellis of CNN, points out this one but offers no elaboration.

Sometimes, none’s needed.

HT_papa_johns_sk_141029_16x9_992

So, will any of these make it to your kitchen this year?

Send us your own crazy favorites.

Bon appetit!


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Why Social Media Storytelling is Like a Good Burger

PRSA, Georgia, Atlanta, Maggiano's, public relations, internal communications, business communications, social media, storytelling, facebook, twitter, instagram, children's hospital of atlanta, fleishmanHillard, Georgia Tech, Tech

My burger of choice is at Yeah! Burger, and here Steven Norris and I disagree. He’s more a Bocado man.

I love a good burger and I love storytelling. But it took a Georgia Tech social media pro to connect them for me today.

Social media storytelling is a lot like a good burger, Steven Norris said at a panel discussion sponsored by the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. A burger should be handcrafted, authentic and multi-layered, just like many stories told via social media. Different channels are like various toppings and condiments — with content being the meat patty and analytics the bun.

I like the idea, largely because it puts content as the centerpiece, regardless of, say, condiments or toppings. It will vary from project to project whether we employ chiefly Twitter, Facebook, any of the others or a combination of some of them. Maybe you lead with a nice slice of American cheese, squirt on a little ketchup and mustard and add some pickle slices today. Tomorrow, you keep it to a simple double-stack with mayo and lettuce. Wrap it all up in fresh-baked analytics, and you’re good to go.

PRSA, Georgia, Atlanta, Maggiano's, public relations, internal communications, business communications, social media, storytelling, facebook, twitter, instagram, children's hospital of atlanta, fleishmanHillard, Georgia Tech, Tech

Maria Jewett and Meg Flynn, with Steven Norris’s slide on the social media storytelling/burger recipe.

You get what he meant.

Some other nice moments from him and the other two panelists:

  • Steven: Any good social media post drives readers back to your website.
  • Maria Jewett of FleishmanHillard: “Having a great cause and having a great story will help your brand grow.”
  • Maria: “I am the editor of my own personal story and so are all of you” — and it’s not much different working for brands or companies.
  • Meg Flynn of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: It’s better to focus on original content (including images) than repurpose marketing material and stock photos.

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Please subscribe to this blog at the top of the right column, or by clicking “Follow” in the top left of the page. Thanks! 

Follow me on Twitter @JayCroft!

The Week in Review: Thanks for a Record Number of Page Views!

storycroft, page views, engagement, blog, Atlanta, John Rocker, Survivor, Truman Capote, Positive Challenge

Thanks for helping me end the summer with a bang!

I want to thank subscribers to this blog for their support over the last eight months. With your help, storycroft.com got more page views on Friday than on any other day. And on Sunday, we came this close to setting another record.

Why the excitement? First, I jumped on a breaking story that’s relevant to my premise. Then I worked the system hard while staying true to that premise.

Early in the week, I had two posts — about finishing my Positive Challenge and about great quotes from Truman Capote — that drew a good but unremarkable amount of page views and engagement. But right after I posted about Capote, news came that “Survivor” was adding controversial ex-baseball player John Rocker to its cast of castaways. I had to weigh in — and I got some of the Internet traffic driven by Rocker and the show.

I decided to build on it by re-linking some older posts to referral sites where I had posted them before, like reddit.com and stumbleupon.com, and I was stunned by the tidal wave of page views that came from them a few months after their first run. (Thanks, Sophie… and Josh, The Run Commuter… and the King of Pops… and Ponce City Market…) I also sought out other discussion boards about Rocker and other topics in my posts, and that got me referrals from large, commercial sites.

Just as important, engagement was high on the blog and on my social media pages. Readers were clicking through photo galleries. And on links and images at the bottom of posts. And retweeting and sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. Anybody can lure in one-timers with click bait. But that doesn’t interest me. At some point, we have to focus on improving engagement at least as much as page views.

Oh, I want new readers, of course. But I also hope anyone who visits storycroft.com will come in and sit a spell, as we say down South. To click on another story, leave a comment, recommend it on social media.

You know: Have a conversation — and tell a story.

If you enjoyed this post or anything on storycroft.com, please subscribe at the top of the right column. And ask a friend to do the same. Thanks! 


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No Ice Bucket Needed for This Challenge — Just Make the Positive Choice

Atlanta BeltLine, public art, sculpture, overpass, North Avenue, Ponce City Market, Positive Challenge, civic improvements, Atlanta is getting better all the time, Nicole Brodeur

Nicole Brodeur

When Nicole Brodeur does something, I notice. She’s a great journalist, super-smart and one of my favorite friends.  She’s a columnist at The Seattle Times and, if you don’t read her, start now, even if you’re nowhere the Space Needle. She wrote yesterday about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and a former NFL player who has the disease and still participated in the popular social media money- and awareness-raiser.

But what moved me to action personally was Nicole’s Facebook posts about The Positive Challenge. I asked her about it. Here’s what she said:

The Positive Challenge was thrown down by Jacqui Banaszynski. I’m not clear on the rules, but I believe that you have to write three positive things about your life, or that happened in your life, every day for a week. And you can tag someone to take over when you’re finished. I’m almost finished, so you start on Monday. Tag, Jay Croft, you’re it!

Replied Jacqui: Post three positive thoughts or events each day for seven days. Tag two people a day to do the same. All that is optional, of course.

Atlanta BeltLine, public art, sculpture, overpass, North Avenue, Ponce City Market, Positive Challenge, civic improvements, Atlanta is getting better all the time, Nicole Brodeur, Jacqui Banaszynski

Jacqui Banaszynski

Well, all right. I’ve always found it a good idea to do what smart, beautiful women suggest. So I accepted the challenge. Today is Day Four. I’ll keep updating it on my own Facebook page.

What about you? Do you make a point to practice gratitude or positivity every day? Someone once said something like, “Happiness doesn’t bring gratitude — gratitude brings happiness.” I like that.

 

Here goes.

Atlanta BeltLine, public art, sculpture, overpass, North Avenue, Ponce City Market, Positive Challenge, civic improvements, Atlanta is getting better all the time, Nicole Brodeur

New sculpture on the BeltLine

DAY ONE OF THE POSITIVE CHALLENGE

  1. I’m grateful for awesome friends like you.
  2. Can I say something as simple as coffee? Because I’m drinking it right now and would be useless without it.
  3. 
The words, the words… always, the words.

 

DAY TWO OF THE POSITIVE CHALLENGE

  1. I was pleased to see new public art on the BeltLine overlooking North Avenue last night on my way home. Today I shared a photo of it here that Atlanta BeltLine put up. Yay. Love public art. Love the Atlanta BeltLine. Love civic improvement and community involvement.
  2. I reconnected with an old friend this week. Great to catch up. Hope I can see him again soon.
  3. I’m healthy. Everything works. No physical problems. And I’ve been sleeping great the last year, which was not the case for a long time. So: thankful for my health, every day.

DAY THREE OF THE POSITIVE CHALLENGE

  1. I love that my job is so close to my house. I can come home for lunch. In fact, I’m home for lunch right now. In the craziness of metro Atlanta traffic, this close proximity is no small blessing.
  1. I love cheat days. Not because I love to cheat so much (except for ice cream), but because it’s inevitable that at least one day a week will be chaotic or, yes, tempting, and the cheat-day concept is a nice reminder that it’s OK to be, you know, imperfect. Dadgummit.
  1. I’m grateful that today is my friend Tony’s 50th birthday and that my friend John, Tony’s partner, will be celebrating his 60th soon. Because I’d go crazy without them and, you know, I like nice round numbers like 50 and 60… which is why I’m staying 40 forever! Bah-da-bing!

DAY FOUR OF THE POSITIVE CHALLENGE

Something a little different today: Three pics from a great Sunday evening watching the Braves win (!!!) at Turner Field. Ya gotta believe in The Boys. Still, even this late…

Atlanta Braves, positive challenge, Turner Field, Braves leaving Atlanta for Cobb, Jay Croft, storycroft, Byron Whitt, Atlanta, friends at a baseball game

At a Braves game with my buddy Byron Whitt, enjoying Turner Field and its proximity IN THE CITY OF ATLANTA while we still can.

Atlanta Braves, Chris Johnson, Turner Field, best ass in baseball, best butt in baseball, sexiest baseball player, most handsome baseball player

My favorite Brave, Chris Johnson. OK, my baseball BF, right Trish Buswell? Chris, you can email me here on the blog. Or Facebook or Twitter. Or just wave next time you’re at bat, and I’ll know you’re thinking of me.

Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times, Positive Choice, Jay Croft, Atlanta, Braves, ice cream, Turner Field

Ice cream + baseball = summertime bliss.

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How Jackie Onassis and a Hopeful Author Helped Me Find a New Career

jackie onassis, martha stewart, books, editor, doubleday, viking, careers, reinvention, new career, how to find a new career, Chapter 2, Plan B

Jackie Onassis in her book-editor years

One day when Jackie Onassis was a book editor at Doubleday in the 1970s, her assistant came into her office and said, “Mrs. Onassis, your next appointment is here.”

Jackie slowly looked up and breathily asked, “And what does this one want to write a book about?”

“She wants to educate people about how to host dinner parties, make nice invitations, entertain properly in the home – that kind of thing,” the assistant said.

Jackie didn’t blink. “But doesn’t everyone already know how to do that?” she said, as the assistant brought in … Martha Stewart.

Cute story, right?

Well, it helped change my life a few years ago, when I realized I needed a Plan B, like the folks I blogged about Monday.

I had decided to leave the newspaper industry. It was showing signs of the disaster that soon followed and, somehow, I saw the “iceberg dead ahead” a bit before many of my colleagues and started looking for a life raft (way too much of a scramble to be called Plan B).

But when I began looking for another way to make a living, I was overwhelmed by bizspeak about “skill sets” and “project management” and “holistically synergizing teams and assets” — or whatever.

One night with a friend, I was complaining – whining, maybe – that my skills as a writer, editor and manager were not transferable outside of a newsroom.

“You think just because you can write well that everybody can write well,” he said. “Is that what all you newspaper people think – that you don’t know how to do anything special? Every day, you lead meetings and send out reporters to cover the news, and then you make a hundred business decisions about the product your company sells.”

Martha Stewart, jackie onassis, books, new career, reinvention, chapter 2, plan b, how to jump-start your career

Hey, girl.

That’s when my friend smiled and shook his head and told me the story about Jackie and Martha.

And then I understood. Maybe my skills and experience were, indeed, special. Maybe I could be of use to a different kind of organization.

Armed with this fresh perspective, I continued networking and eventually found a new place to work in corporate communications, where I felt appreciated and was nurtured in my transition into the business world, so different from the frat-house culture of newsrooms.

I tell that story a lot when I hear people with career troubles in any industry. Hang in there. Forget the nonsense you were told. Not everybody knows how to do what you do.

Thanks, Jackie. And Martha.


 

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How 5 Friends Reinvented Themselves, and 6 Resources on How You Can, Too

MY OWN VERSION:  How Jackie Onassis helped me write my own Chapter 2…

Chapter 2, Second Act, Plan B, how to start a new career, re-invention, re-create yourself, re-invent yourself, madonna, fitzgerald

The author of “The Great Gatsby”

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “There are no second acts in American lives.”

But I never believed him.

And now, in the years after the Internet revolution the economic recession, we have proof all around us — so many Americans having to reinvent themselves to keep their careers going, find a new one or just make a living.

This topic of re-creating yourself has been on my mind a lot lately, whether you call it a second act, a Plan B or self-invention. If we all write the story of our lives, then sometimes we have to turn a page, right?

Russ Kendall, a photojournalist of many years, left newspapers 18 months ago to run a pizza restaurant in Washington State. Russ and I worked together in Alaska in the early ‘90s. I left the business seven years ago. Since then, more than 54,000 jobs have been lost in the industry.

Chapter 2, Second Act, Plan B, how to start a new career, re-invention, re-create yourself, re-invent yourself, madonna, fitzgerald, russ kendall, gusto's pizza

Russ Kendall of Gusto Wood Fired Pizza in Bellingham, Wash.

This summer, Russ started a Facebook group for ex-newspaper people, or those who might soon be ex-newspaper people. He calls it What’s Your Plan B and it has 1,300 members. Many have shared their stories of despair and inspiration.

“This group is designed not so much to share the horror stories we all have but more to help each other to move forward with a successful Plan B,” Russ says.

Newspaper guru Jim Romenesko wrote a nice little piece about it here. He shared this: Most of the posts are serious, but I laughed at this one: “Um.. Photojournalism WAS my plan B. Plan A was to own a video rental store.”

Not just journalists

Chapter 2, Second Act, Plan B, how to start a new career, re-invention, re-create yourself, re-invent yourself, madonna, fitzgerald

The mother of reinvention, Madonna, had other ideas. Here’s the poster from her Re-Invention Tour.

Every day on Facebook, I see other former journalists going to law school or getting MBAs. But it’s not just the news business that got the rug pulled out from under it. And some people choose to change their lives for reasons that are more personal than the struggles of an industry alone.

  • I know a doctor who left his practice, went back to school in his 50s to get another advanced degree – and then changed cities and career focus. He’s still a doctor, but in an entirely different field. He wanted to make a big change for the remaining chapters of his career and took empowering, successful steps to do it.
  • He and I were having dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Atlanta recently. The waiter, clearly 40-ish, joked that he was a college sophomore, so we asked him about that. He said he’s going to nursing school so he can help people and have a new, more rewarding career.
  • Another friend used to be a high-flying chef in New York City, back when he was wild and single. Now a happily married dad of three in an Atlanta suburb, he runs a family travel business with his wife. Side jobs cooking and teaching give him an outlet for his passion and skill in the kitchen.
  • And just Friday night, I went to a wedding reception. The couple had asked a friend, an IT professional of 30 years, to prepare his gourmet cupcakes. He’s testing the waters for a new chapter of his own. (I told him he had to do it – the cupcakes were that good.)

Plenty of articles, resources

Chapter 2, Second Act, Plan B, how to start a new career, re-invention, re-create yourself, re-invent yourself, madonna, fitzgerald

From Psychology Today

There are many good articles and online resources for anyone wanting to write their own Act 2. Here are a few:

  • “Major life changes are never easy, because your instincts and the urgent matters of the day work against you. But when you learn to focus on your future self, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve,” says a Psychology Today article.
  • From The Harvard Business Review: How to Reinvent Yourself After 50.
  • From techcrunch.com: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reinventing Yourself.
  • “Are you serious about transformation? I’m not talking about polishing yourself, improving yourself, making things a bit better. I’m talking about the reset button—a reinvention that changes the game. That means an overhaul in what you believe and how you do your job. If you’re up for that, then right here, right now, you can start. How? Do work that matters.” From a success.com piece headlined Ways to Reinvent Yourself.
  • From More magazine: 10 Things to Know Before You Change Your Life.
  • From Forbes: Five Steps to Reinventing Yourself Professionally.

Share your experiences through the link at the top.


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