Tag Archives: Email

Fie on FOMO

Fie on FOMO

I was having coffee with a new acquaintance down the street last week and realized our conversation was a little disjointed. Then I saw she was texting under the table while she was telling me about her job hunting adventures. Idly, I wondered what couldn’t wait.

You see things like that a lot these days. And it’s not just rude stuff. It’s dangerous, too, like texting while driving. Has the electronic revolution turned on us?

Not too long ago, electronic messaging of various kinds was a valuable tool. Now it seems to be more of a demanding taskmaster. So many of us are just too busy with our iPads, iPhones, messages and email to stay connected to real life. Or even common sense. Last week I was posting on Facebook and I realized I was responding to a man I don’t even know.


Maybe there’s another branch to the problem. Chatting, in person, with a friend the other day, I was startled when she told me she’d gone to a dinner for the Humane Society. I know she doesn’t really like animals, so I asked why she went. “Well, I might meet a new man, a new business prospect … and maybe I was supposed to be there”.

Maybe we think we have to be everywhere these days, in touch with all the latest news, grasping at every straw of an opportunity, meeting everyone we need to meet and all it has to happen right away. It might make us feel very productive, but what we’re really doing is disconnecting from the people and things we really value.

Last week I was so busy tweeting, posting, and writing articles that I forgot a good friend’s birthday, and that never happened before.

The condition even has an acronym – FOMO – and I don’t know if it can be cured. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out.  We frantically attend events we don’t care about, send out dozens of happy birthday messages on Facebook, and respond to hundreds of tweets from people we barely know.

Maybe you can give it a try with me? Lets try Paring On Down. Here are some ways to do it.

  1. Slim down your calendar. See what you’re doing that can be eliminated. Do you want to attend another association lunch? If not, cancel it. If you have ten telephone meetings, maybe half can be done by email.
  2. Spend less time on Social Media. If you are on Facebook on Twitter, decide to allot certain hours each day to them. Maybe after work for an hour, or before work, but not checking them all day long.
  3. Develop a strategy to receive fewer emails. I unsubscribe to newsletters, promotions and LinkedIn groups each week. Figure out a way to delete emails from all your electronic devices.
  4. Don’t use texting like email. Texting, for me, is almost an immediate response mechanism for a timely meeting. I feel compelled to answer texts, and they draw my attention away from work.

I figure if you take the Challenge with me, we might free up a few hours a day. Imagine what we can do with that time. I can finish the book I’m writing. I can clean out my closet. Take the art course I’ve been considering, and probably write more blog posts here and on Forbes.com.

What will you do with the extra time? Please let me know and comment below. We can do this together. We’ll be the POD People.



So I like Twitter, but what does it do for me?

So I like Twitter, but what does it do for me?

I once sent out a tweet that asked how many of my followers read the newspaper every day. A few told me they read it online, and one lady tweeted she reads her Pennysaver every week.

That is a scary thought for me, because I get nervous when people don’t read. Most of all, I feel sick to my stomach when I think people aren’t curious about things going on in the world, or new ideas, or innovations. Just plain curious is good.

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Twitter is great that way. If there is breaking news, someone is always tweeting about it, and I hear it first on my Tweetdeck. I can also test all kinds of things on Twitter:

1. Ask people about something, with a link to show it (people read tweets with links).

2. Ask for advice. Recently I was throwing my new iMac into the ocean as I couldn’t get it to work because the monitor showed vertical colored lines. As soon as I tweeted about it, 5 or 6 people told me the computer was dead period. Take it back to the store.

3. I make friends on Twitter with people who share my point of view. Many people who I’ve had conversations with on Twitter have come to visit us, or called me, and when I visit a city…I get many invitations for coffee and lunch to meet in person.

4. For business, because of the huge numbers of people on Twitter, I can do a tweet and invite people to come to our Facebook page and enter a contest. They do come and then I can send them to a website to sign up for a newsletter (and get their email addresses).

5. If I want to find people who are lawyers on Twitter, I can go to twitter.search.com or simply press #lawyers and find all lawyer mentioned in the last 10 minutes or an hour.

The opportunities are endless to use Twitter as the driver to take people to your website, or blog, or E-zine. It’s got great possibilities…and I’m sure you’ll think of new ones for your business!

On Twitter, they call them RAOK.

On Twitter, they call them RAOK.


I used to see RAOK in my Tweet deck and I couldn’t figure out what it meant. Then it hit me: Random Acts of Kindness.

In real life we call them good deeds and I was reminded of one that happened to me years ago in far away California.

We were on our way to Woodland Hills to give a marketing seminar for our clients at Funrise. It had been a long trip from New York to LAX and I was starving. Whoa! Is that a Denny’s up there? Let’s duck in for something we can gobble down quickly.

And that’s where I met Tim Tallent, our waiter. He understood our predicament immediately and magically brought out our food right away, all the time talking good naturedly. He was funny, too, and by the time we left I felt as if I’d made a friend. Turns out I had.


Time gave me his card, and I gave him mine. When I got back to New York I decided to write about Tim in my monthly column for Target Marketing Magazine. It was all about how he lifted my spirits that day. I sent a tear sheet of the article to his boss, too.

Tim sent a Thank You note and seven years passed. Then yesterday I got an email from him. Click here to read it: Tim Tallent’s E-mail

All the best,

So now when I read the letters RAOK, I think of great people like Tim. Now it seems he manages the whole restaurant.

If only the lady behind the counter at Subway today had smiled and said something, anything, rather than slowly fill up all of her little silver trays with various Subway stuff, I might have ordered a sandwich and written about her today, too.

He who hesitates to respond to email…might be on the right track!

He who hesitates to respond to email…might be on the right track!

In the speedy way we work now, I get an email, respond in a second, and sometimes don’t take the time to think.

That happened to me last week, when I was invited to speak in Europe at a conference, and I was on a conference call, and perhaps my response was a bit curt. The sponsor of the event thought I was mean…and didn’t even appreciate her offer (which I did). I’ve been wanting to speak in Prague for a while, and when the invite came in…I just blattered out my questions. And, she was gone. I missed out, and felt awful about it.

My Mom used to say, “think before you speak”, and if you’re angry, “sleep on it” before responding. You’ll feel altogether different in the morning. And, I usually do that. When the poor Prague woman wrote, I didn’t.

Joe Biden also had a foot in the mouth disease last week when he accidentally blurted out that there is a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Academy. That is the bunker where they hid Cheney, when 9/11 happened. Well, it is not a secret anything anymore. If only he’d thought,, waited, considered before he said it. Michelle Malkin talks about it on her blog today

Guess we should all think about this on Twitter and Facebook… and email.

I love the art prints, and where is the offer?

I love the art prints, and where is the offer?


Recently a client came to our offices to tell us all about his fabulous line of art books. They were great, and we enjoyed seeing the art, before it was published. He mentioned the thickness of the books, the special art historian who was the author, and so on.

Then I asked him the big question: what is your offer? His reply was, “I don’t need an offer”, and “these books are high quality and stand on their own”.

I explained to him that in direct marketing you always need an offer, or you’re just selling retail in the mail. The offer answers the customer’s questions of “what’s in it for me”, and it is really the closer for the sale. Read the rest of this entry

The Joy of … checks flying in every day.

The Joy of … checks flying in every day.

Ah, those were the days! One of my first DM jobs was at Greystone Press, a continuity publisher. We sold books in sets, one at a time, and billed customers monthly. Titles included the International Encyclopedia of Art, the International Illustrated Encyclopedia of Decorating. We also had gardening sets (that I wrote), and how-to handbooks.

And every day, the good ol’ USPS delivered mailbags filled with orders and, more important, checks. This was before normal everyday people had credit cards.

Orders and checks actually came right to our office in Manhattan and a bunch of people in the fulfillment area worked quickly to give us flash counts, daily, sometimes hourly.

It was exciting to hear that thousands of orders had come in, with checks, or that there were fewer cancellations than expected.

It was a joy to sit in the back room watching the fulfillment people outserting checks and writing up bank deposit slips. I loved finding out which of my programs was working best and which were lagging.

Now I call clients to ask how a mailing we did is faring out in the market and they often just don’t know yet… and maybe they’ll never know. “The data guy hasn’t put the numbers together, but there seems to be a lift, which may not be because of your mailing because so many responses are unidentifiable .” Which you wouldn’t think possible, would you? Read the rest of this entry