The T in Team

Trust is absolutely essential for a team to thrive. Think about it … trust is critical in any relationship because a relationship without trust is not really a relationship at all! As businesses continue to shift from cubicles to team-oriented workplaces, developing team building skills (trust included) is becoming necessary for success. And you want to be successful, right? Of course you do!

Dictionary.com defines trust as:
  1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
  2. confident expectation of something; hope.

Absolutely beautiful, isn't it?
Is it possible to have a team without trust? Not a successful one, that's for sure.

In order for a team (any kind of team) to function properly, every member must do what they promise, on time and as expected. Even harder, everyone on the team has to trust that every other member is going to make good on their commitments.

Easy right? (insert LOLcano here)

I've only officially been in a leadership role for 6 months now, but I can tell you with full assurance that a team without trust will collapse at the first sign of struggle. I say officially because I've been a leader my entire life; although I was always picked last in gym class, I was always the sucker who stepped up to lead group projects in school (and wound up doing most all of the work because I HAD to get an A).

I know, I know – trusting someone can be scary! Like many of you, I've put my trust in the wrong people and been disappointed and hurt.

I will never be able to control what anyone else does/says/thinks but I can control what I do/say/think. I can make damn sure that I do everything within my power to demonstrate that my word is good, that I am trustworthy (true, accurate, honest, faithful).

According to The Third Opinion: How Successful Leaders Use Outside Insight to Create Superior Results, there are three fundamental distinctions of trust: personal, expertise, and structural.



Personal trust develops in the workplace from shared tasks and an understanding of what makes your teammates tick so to speak.  It is being confident that your teammate won’t let you down when it counts, and vice versa.

When developing personal trust, you might ask the following questions about your teammate(s):
  • On a personal level, do I trust this person? 
  • Do I believe this person is honest, ethical, and well-intentioned? 
  • Do I believe s/he will make good when s/he gives his/her word? 
  • Do I believe this person will handle confidential information with care and 
discretion?

Expertise trust comes from competence and knowledge in a particular subject matter or process. Expertise trust focuses on the knowledge, judgment and thinking abilities of someone else.

When developing expertise trust, you might ask the following questions about your teammate(s):
  • Do I trust that this person is an expert in his/her field? Is their knowledge current and up-to-date? Do I trust the information they gather to inform and support their opinions?
  • Do they have an ability to understand my situation and apply their knowledge to it? 
  • Do I trust their judgment regarding risk, options and tradeoffs? 
  • Do they have the ability to innovate and develop custom solutions to hard problems?

Structural trust refers to how much someone’s position or role affects your confidence that s/he will be able to deal with you straightforwardly.

When developing structural trust, you might ask the following questions about your teammate(s):
  • Do they have a personal agenda? 
  • Are they in a role where their judgment and thinking is likely to be significantly influenced by their need to advance their goals, self-interests, or advocacy?
A person trusts a team when s/he believes that team members make good-faith efforts to stick to commitments, are honest in negotiations, and don't take advantage of one another even when the opportunity presents itself.

Trust is one of the key ingredients necessary for a team to succeed, and teams of all types must remain firmly rooted in trusting relationships if they are to function effectively.

How do you build trust within your team/organization?

Hair Fixes from the Kitchen

Big hair, big fun.
Being a hippie at heart in these modern times, to me at least, means finding as many uses for the things I buy as possible. I absolutely dig green cleaning products and beauty solutions that are good to Mother Earth (and my pocketbook).

Here are 5 eco and wallet-friendly hair fixes for you to try using items found in your kitchen. The best part about this list? You may have all of these items in your casa already!

Say lay lay to bad hair days! Sounds rad, right? Let's get started.

LediaMedia's Hair Fixes from the Kitchen 

What You'll Need
  • Orange juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Olive Oil
  • Gelatin
  • Flour

How To Use Your Kitchen Items

Orange and lemon juice
Used as: natural highlight booster
How to use: Spritz your hair with a mixture of orange and lemon juice before heading out in the sun. It leaves your hair with warmer, more golden highlights when mixed.

Honey
Used as: natural hair gel
How to use: Dissolve 1 tsp of honey (or agave nectar) into 1/2 cup of water, pour it into a spray bottle, then mist it over your hair.

Olive oil
Used for: removing excess glue left behind from extensions
How to use: All you have to do is smooth a few drops of it over the tracks of the extensions and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. The glue will be gone when you rinse it out! 

Gelatin
Used as: protein treatment for fighting split ends
How to use: Dissolve a packet of clear gelatine into hot water. Massage the warm solution through your hair and leave it in for 30 minutes. Rinse and say hello to stronger hair! Gelatine can also be used to make DIY pore strips.

Flour
Used as: a dry shampoo
How to use: If you don't have time to wash your locks, sprinkle some flour on your roots, let it sop up oil for ten seconds, then dust away the excess with a makeup brush.


What hair fix is missing from this list? Please share in the comments below!

Leo's Pet Care

When it comes to my dog's health care, I am a total Dog Mom (cue "I Love My Dog" by Cat Stevens). I am picky, picky, picky about where I take my dog and have struggled to find a reliable vet in the Indianapolis area. 

Past vet experiences have left me skeptical -- is there a vet that exists that cares about my dog as much as I do? I'm happy to report that my search is finally over; Leo's Pet Care is committed to my dog's health and well-being as much as I am! 

Beyond that, Whiskey absolutely adored Dr. Greg Magnusson and his staff. I felt comfortable leaving her in his care.

 Leo's Pet Care is an independent veterinary clinic and will
refer you to the best veterinary specialists available.
 
I took Whiskey (winner of Slingshot SEO's first Cutest Pet Contest) to Leo's Pet Care for a spaying surgery as well as yearly check-up. I was nervous about the surgery and the entire staff did their best to quiet my fears and assure me that she would recover quickly. It was refreshing to be surrounded by people who not only understood why I was nervous but did their best to explain away my fears.

Part of my visit included a standard exam. During this exam Dr. Greg found an issue with her teeth; She had not one but two cracked molars. She had been chewing on something that she wasn't supposed to be (shocking!) and hurt herself in the process. Luckily he noticed the cracks before they became infected or worse, saving my dog from agony down the road.

What's interesting about the cracked molars (to me at least) is that I get her teeth cleaned every eight weeks and they had failed to mention her discomfort to me. He spotted and corrected a problem that others neglected to notice.

Follow-up calls, tweets & a hand-written note?
Talk about customer service!

Visit Highlights
  • Clean, modern facilities: the exam table moves up and down! My dog thought she was on an amusement park ride!
  • Knowledgeable and friendly staff
  • Clear explanation of procedure as well as a facility tour
  • Follow-up calls AND tweets throughout the entire surgery: when Dr. Greg was sent straight to my voice mail, he sent me a DM on Twitter to make sure I knew Whiskey was in recovery, safe and sound.
  • Straight-forward billing – no surprise charges
  • Handwritten thank-you note
  • Quick prescription delivery (as well as a new chew toy and personalized pet tag)
  • Key chain and wallet card with Whiskey's photo and vaccination information
I will be trusting Leo's Pet Care with all of my dog's future care. He is truly an animal advocate.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment please visit www.leospetcare.com.


Become a Fan of Leo's Pet Care on Facebook

 
 Follow Dr. Greg (@IndianapolisVet) on Twitter

How do you define leadership?

Webster's dictionary defines leadership as:
  • The office or position of a leader
  • Capacity to lead
  • The act or an instance of leading

When defining leadership should we consider leadership styles? What about types of leadership training? In recent conversations I've heard leadership used to mean religious training, political opinions, procedural direction, organizational planning, experience driven team building, and volunteerism. Leadership seems like such a simple word, doesn't it?  

When discussing leadership, keep in mind; others may have a different definition of leadership. One of the most common breakdowns in communication is assuming others think as we do. Avoid this breakdown, when discussing leadership, by asking questions and explaining your definition of leadership.

How one defines leadership may be personal, but leading isn't. 
Regardless of your style and definition of leadership there are certain leadership truths. Here are a few to consider.

  1. Charisma is not leadership. Leaders are not born. Leaders learn to lead.
  1. A leader without followers is not a leader. Pretty simply huh? Think about it.
  1. Leaders are self-aware and obsessed with personal improvement.
  1. The best leaders learn what followers need to succeed and furnish the tools.
  1. Managers want employees to change when change often begins with management. Be a leader - lead by example – be the first to change.
Lead by example. Use recognition and encouragement to paint dreams, to show a path, and share a vision. Train and help, and help and train, and train and help some more. Keep in mind - You manage accounts and lead people.

How do you define leadership? Leave a comment; I’d like to know.

If you’d like more of my definition of leadership, check out these posts:
12 Attributes of Great Leadership

 About the Author
Randy Clark (@randyclarktko)
"I am Indiana born and bred - I love basketball, the Indy 500 and our state fair. My beer fridge at any given time has a couple hundred beers representing 75-80 different styles."

Randy Clark is the Director of Communications for TKO Graphix, where he blogs for TKO Graphix Brandwire. He is an avid flower gardener, beer geek, and he fronts the Under the Radar Rock & Roll. Randy is husband to public speaker Cathi, proud father of one principal, one educator. He is also a grandfather to four grandchildren.

How to Boost Rankings with StumbleUpon Traffic

If you are one of the millions of StumbleUpon users, you've more than likely realized two truths; the internet is comprised (almost) entirely of funny animal videos and being an active member of the StumbleUpon community is a powerful and organic way to move your site up the rankings ladder.

StumbleUpon was one of the first internet add-ons to use a "like" and "dislike" option that allows the user to create their ideal browsing experience. Stumblers can browse the internet based on preferences and categories; the more you like or dislike, the better recommendation SU will make for you.

Growing Your Circle of Influence 

A key feature of SU is the community associated with it; you can connect with thousands, okay millions, of people who are interested in similar things. That is a powerful resource for anyone looking to forge social connections with new influencers. 

Subscribe to targeted SU user feeds to view their recent stumbles. Use this resource to find new people to connect with and see what those with similar interests are actually spending time online. You can sort feeds by most recent views, top rated, most shares, and categorized tags. Hello new and relevant content that your circle of influence wants! 

Once you stumble ("like" or "dislike") a webpage you can do two things: view who else liked the page and find out who was the first to "discover" (fancy word for adding a webpage to the StumbleUpon directory) the page. As you stumble and discover relevant webpages you will organically gain subscribers interested in your SU finds and recommendations. 

StumbleUpon does not automate following and unfollowing of users; this gives you the opportunity to forge actual relationships with other users. Isn't that what social networking is supposed to be about in the first place?

          So, what now? 

          StumbleUpon (if used correctly) can offer you targeted traffic that will grow gradually over time. Now that you've decided to start stumbling, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of it. 
          1. Personalize your page. When users are browsing the StumbleUpon community, it is imperative that they get a true sense of who you are. SU users do not like spammers and dishonesty. Upload an avatar (a REAL photo, not a graphic or logo). Tell people who you are by filling out the "General" section. (This is a great place for a link to your website or blog, too.)  Share with the community what you like in the “Interests” section.

          2. Join the communities relating to your interests (both personally and professionally). Targeted communities' equals targeted traffic. And don't just join them to be one of the cool kids -- actually contribute!

          3. Befriend people with similar interests. Adding friends whose pages interest you can be the start of a beautiful relationship: they will likely appreciate the pages that you’re submitting. As you continue to submit great content, users will befriend you and regularly view your stumbled content.

          4. Stumble often. Just submitting and stumbling upon a single page doesn’t bode well for your reputation, and keen users will take notice. Stumble frequently. If people like the pages you’ve stumbled upon or submitted, you’ll likely also be rated highly in the community.

          5. Label and tag your submitted pages appropriately. When you tag your new submissions, be relevant. Pertinent tags will bring you the most targeted traffic from the users who specifically have expressed an interest in the topic you are serving content for.

          6. Do not keyword spam. If your keywords and tags are not relevant to your site your popularity (if any) will be short lived. Tags can be added and removed by community members and spammy keywords do not last long.

          Follow Friday

          Five rad people to follow and why you should follow them (in 140 characters or less).

          @IndianapolisVet




          is more than the owner of Leo's Pet Care, he's an animal advocate.





          @jcabiness



          is a super mom, a blogger, and has a great sense of humor.







          @calebdann



          is a gadget geek with a forte for Search Engine Optimization.







          @TheRobbie22




          is one (of many) Slingshot SEO superstars and one of my favorite people.






          @sarahstrange23


          is opinionated (in a good way) and loves to join the conversation.

          Purple dinosaur

          A very wise purple dinosaur taught me to "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share." While I've yet to apply this to my apartment cleaning routine, I have completely changed my perspective on what it means to be a leader.

          I hope that a T-Rex would be this friendly IRL.
          (That's in real life for those just joining us.)


          When I first accepted a team lead position at my company, I was excited to try something new and grow my skill set. Okay fine, I was nervous, too -- I like to be the best of the best (winner) and uncharted territory meant no established standards and quotas. How can I raise the bar if I don't know where it is?

          At first the uncertainty brought me an incredible amount of stress and worry. I was so focused on proving that I could do this that I forgot to actually lead. Once my perspective was shifted I settled into my new responsibilities and defined my leadership role for myself; I set my own bar.

          What Being a Leader Means to Me 
          1. Helping everyone on my team realize and reach their potential
          2. Being available for problem and solution discussions, both professionally and personally
          3. Encouraging my team to push themselves to be better (for themselves, not just for me)
          4. Communicating frequently and being honest in that communication
          5. Being my team's greatest advocate
          Being a team lead means more to me than producing quality output. I see it as an opportunity to hand-pick people who can build the best company in the industry. If we are willing to work together, there is nothing we can't overcome. Going alone is a tough row to hoe, ya mean?

          When I was young and a fresh college grad (n00b) I was under the impression that getting a job in the career field of my choice was going to be a cakewalk. What a laugh.

          It took me years to not only figure out WHAT I wanted to do but WHO I wanted to be. As if figuring that out wasn't hard enough, I then had to find an environment where that wanted me accomplish both things. Needless to say, my quest for career bliss has been full of more ups and downs. I could have really used a mentor to show me the ropes. Rug burn sucks.

          In the end I'm happy to have overcome so many obstacles when defining myself and my career goals: I am capable of being the mentor I never had. I'm going to push myself to offer more than just assignments and tasks to my team: I'm also going to offer encouragement, guidance, support, and concern.


          I leave you with a final thought from one of my favorite Tweeps, Suzanne Zaleski (@MsSwank):



          Are you pushing yourself to be your personal and professional best? Why not?

          Femme Fatale review


          One listen through Britney’s newest release Femme Fatale is all it takes to forget the career- blundering events of 2007 and remember her for what she is: a pop icon… and a damn sexy one, at that.

          Femme Fatale is, above all, a testament to Brit’s ability to change with the times and evolve her songs with the ever-changing soundscape that is pop music. Not all that long ago (circa 1999) when our airwaves were filled with sugary, wholesome tunes like “Genie In A Bottle”, “I Want It That Way”, and “If You Had My Love”, Spears pounced on the scene with innocent schoolgirl allure and the unforgettable single “… Baby One More Time”. Fast forward 12 years and six albums later, and we’re listening to dubstep-drenched electro beats and highly worked-over vocal tracks; a complete 180, to say the least.

          But it’s important to avoid the temptation to try to discover the underlying reason for Spears’ musical evolution. After all, one could spend days speculating how events such as two marriages, two divorces, the birth of two children, custody battles, religious confusion, and paparazzi nightmares would affect one’s creative energy. Instead, I suggest admiring Britney for her courage to not give up, to try something new, and to do it bigger and better than she’s ever done it before.

          Hold It Against Me launched to millions after a month's worth of teasers.

          The album’s first two singles come from the album’s first two tracks- both of which seem obvious choices for pre-release hype and curiosity provocation. DJ’s everywhere couldn’t wait to get their hands on “Hold It Against Me” – working it into their mixes within a day’s time. But producer Dr. Luke, whose working relationship with Spears pre-dates Femme Fatale by more than four years, hopes to pull four more singles from the album before it’s run its course. Read on for my predictions on which tracks might make the cut, as well as highlights from the rest of Femme Fatale.

          I Wanna Go
          Track four, the athematic “I Wanna Go”, is another club-banger with much potential for a single. The song, filled with cheery whistles and suggestive lyrics (Shame on me / to need release / uncontrollably), trains listeners to crave the epic bass drop with every run of the chorus- resulting in the urge for rapid fist-pumps and contagious high energy. 

          How I Roll
          “How I Roll” is a beautiful mix of classic Brittney saccharinity and contemporary dance characteristics. Her distinct vocals are instantly recognizable while simultaneously presented with an electronic makeover that stretches her voice over light bumps and heaps of popping effects in the background.

          (Drop Dead) Beautiful
          Another shoe-in for one of the singles-to-be, “(Drop Dead) Beautiful” opens with a dubstep twist before again leveraging the definitive Brittney growl and effortlessly blending traditional Spears with modern techniques. Produced by Benny Blanco and featuring Sabi (one-half of Bangz, an L.A. based girl-rap duo), the track stands out as one of the album’s grimiest. 

          Seal It With A Kiss
          “Seal It With A Kiss” is also sprinkled with dubstep morsels and maintains the electro mindset with dance-able beats, but steps away from the album’s darker and edgier theme for considerate lyrics and poppy ooo-wee-ooo’s in the chorus.

          Big Fat Bass
          Admittedly a B.E.P. fan, Britney features will.i.am on “Big Fat Bass”. It’s one of the most-daring tracks on the album, as Britney’s vocals are heavily produced over a strong and intimidating beat. Nonetheless, the celebrity cameo and outside-of-the-box production make this song another one to add to the list of predicted singles.

          Additional noteworthy songs rounding out the album include “Gasoline” and two of the four bonus tracks- “He About To Lose Me” and “Selfish”.

          Surprise performance at Rain Nightclub in Las Vegas left haters mad.

          In addition to physically looking the best she has in years, the recent announcement of a tour with in-demand hip hop princess Nicki Minaj has added much fuel to the fire that Femme Fatale ignited in BRITTnation. Despite these truths, a major artist comeback of this caliber will never see success unless it’s first anchored by a high-quality, buzz-worthy album of good music. Thank goodness she’s done exactly that… because Britney is about to blow up like it’s 1999 all over again.


          About the author
          Danielle Look (@butterfly_89000)
          "I attend concerts & festivals... and then write about them. My taste is eclectic and focused locally, but never sees true boundaries. My musical taste gravitates towards hip hop, electronic dance music, and jam, but I am open to nearly any type of music."

          Find her work on Nuvo.net and IndyMojo.com. She also has her own hashtag! Check out The #ButterflyTour on Twitter. Danielle is learning the art of SEO as a social media networker at Slingshot SEO and is also a part-time student at The Kelley School of Business, majoring in marketing.

          Follow Friday

          Ten rad tweeps to add some sugar and spice to your time line and why you should follow them (in 140 characters or less).

          @Ms_C_McGee




          is sassy, awesome, and loves pop music.




           

          @theAmazingBen




          is an incredible web designer, cool geek, and witty.






          @RisingSpivey




          is a savvy business owner, loving mom, and inspiration leader.






          @randyclarktko




          is a marketing master, leadership expert, and excellent conversationalist.






          @kendra90704




          is fabulous, funny, and always up to something awesome.






          @mattdantodd




          is a rad dad, intelligent, and a Star Wars geek.






          @carlajo




          is an avid reader, my Public Relations idol, and into craft beer.






          @whitekidwasted




          is uncensored, uninhibited, and absolutely hilarious.






          @thedailyclaire




          is into awesome TV shows/movies, blogging, and shopping.






          @mariiieclaiiire




          is sweet, loves Frenglish, and a pop culture diva.







          Previous Follow Friday posts are located in the sidebar. Please follow me on Twitter! I love meeting new (rad) people!

          CoolCussing.com

          Have you checked out CoolCussing yet, trash slap?

          You literally spin two wheels, Vegas Style, to create new swear words.

          Some are absolutely ridiculous (meat machine, trash snake); some are offensive (rectum pie, poop dangler). All of them are hilarious. I've been spinning for almost a week (for a few minutes a day) and have yet to see a repeat.

          Go ahead and laugh! It's hilarious!

           Check it out for yourself, sissy hat! Share some of your favorite new swear words in the comments below.

          Beyond being a hilarious time-waster, CoolCussing is a new idea (from some really cool dudes) that is encouraging ingenuity and cultivating creativity.

          Try to use bull brain in a sentence today.

          They actually respond to their followers. How refreshing!

          I have to give them mad props for their aggressive Social Media strategy. They are constantly engaging their users (no really, they do!) and asking us to spread the word. CoolCussing actually answers questions and asks them, too. Perhaps they've read my post about about Twitter etiquette?

          Follow Friday

          This week I'm keeping it short and sweet (and no more than 140 characters).

          @boozoo


          is absolutely hilarious and always contributes to the conversation.




          @iTonio


          is French and has excellent taste in music!




          @ragdollia


          is sassy and hilarious.




          @BrianneVillano


          loves animals, writing, and being helpful.




          @oneinamillian


          is honest and a pop culture diva.




          @xylonkinder


           is hilarious and an internet ninja.




          @iarejordan


           is always doing something fabulous and makes me laugh daily.




          @themichellebell


          is confident and always tweets about awesome stuff.




          @meprieb


          is one of my new followers who loves dogs as much as me!




          @tommabe


          is the perfect combo of Social Media and comedian.





          Previous Follow Friday posts are located in the sidebar. Please follow me on Twitter! I love meeting new (rad) people!

          Podcasts made easy



          In reality I’m running with the dog. In real life, I’m quietly eating lunch. I’m sitting on the metro, trying to ignore the obnoxiously drunk 21-year-olds. In reality I’m suffering through another day of monotonous work.

          In my head, however, I’m having a conversation with a man who forged multiple documents, which would have connected JFK with the mob and proved his love affair with Marilyn Monroe. In my head, I’m the size of a molecule of oxygen and flowing through a gigantic ear while our tour guide points out the integral anatomy of hearing. I’m sitting in a room with my favorite vegan chef as she reads me a short story by Mark Twain.

          I am a podcast enthusiast and it gives me the ability to travel to the ends of the earth, to the insides of organs, and into conversations with the most captivating people. Most importantly, I can do all this while cleaning the house in my sweatpants.

          A podcast is like a radio program that is put into MP3 format, and you can download it to your computer or MP3 player. To be clear, Apple products (like iPods and iTunes) are not necessary to listen to podcasts. However, all of my experience is with these products, and I will use them as examples here.

          Podcast Made Easy
          1. To become a podcast listener, the first step is having the tools: an MP3 player or smart phone and software (like iTunes). My first iPod was an iPod nano, it was silver, and I thought it was hot shit because it could fit in any pocket. Now I use my iPhone or iPod Shuffle. The software is used as a platform for updating and downloading new episodes.

          2. Next you will need to find podcasts that interest you. Most programs are displayed in the iTunes Store Podcast tab. (Open iTunes, select the iTunes store on the left side of the application, click on Podcasts at the top of the store, peruse.) Once you have located a program you wish to download and listen to regularly, click “Subscribe.” Most programs have new episodes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and this step is the key to having this updated without any effort on your part.

          3. Update your MP3 player. When you open iTunes on your computer and plug in your MP3 player, the podcasts which you have subscribed to will be updated automatically! If they do not, you may want to check your settings by selecting your device on the left side of the screen. From there you will see the overview of your MP3 player (what type of product, the version, options, etc.). At the top of the screen, select Podcasts and you will be directed to a screen that shows which, if any, podcasts will be uploaded onto your MP3 player. Ensure the “Sync Podcasts” option at the top is checked!
          For iPhone users, you can access the uploaded podcast episodes by opening the iPod application and clicking on “More” on the bottom right. From there you will see an option for accessing your podcasts. (See Photo 1)

          Photo 1

          When you have listened to an episode, you will have to plug your MP3 player into your computer, delete the old episodes, and upload new ones. You can set up your account to have them deleted automatically when you sync your MP3 player by opening the Podcast menu, clicking on “Settings” at the bottom, and changing the “Episodes to keep:” to “All Unplayed Episodes.” Otherwise, old episodes will have to be deleted manually. You will know a program has been listened to because the blue dot on the left will disappear (See Photo 2). 
          Photo 2

          If you are feeling daunted by the amount of podcasts to choose from, let me make some suggestions.
          1. RadioLab (WNYC) --Hosts Jad Abumrod and Robert Krulwish introduce a science subject matter and then explore it with sound. It was with them that I traveled to the innards of an ear.
          2. Culturetopia (NPR) -- Half of the episodes are a round up of the week’s best arts and culture stories. From this podcast I learned about Florence and the Machine and have expanded my musical knowledge. The other half of the episodes are Pop Culture Happy Hour, a panel of NPR’s wittiest culture fanatics. Their areas of expertise include comic books, movies and reality TV (among others).
          3. WTF with Marc Maron (Independent) -- Maron is a stand-up comedian, and although I’ve never had an interest in stand-up comedy, he tells a different story about this art. He puts his emotions right there in your ear, as he conducts interviews with people in the field and other entertainers. He draws out some incredible story about their life. Oh yeah, and he’s hilarious!
          4. Selected Shorts (PRI) -- Another public radio program that features short stories read on stage by actors (including Alec Baldwin!).
          5. Onion Radio News (Independent) -- This program is less than a minute and offers a ludicrous news story. For example, “Balloon Delivery Man Forced To Take Bus.” Who wouldn’t love having this visual inserted into your daily commute? 
          Oh, I haven’t mentioned it yet but all of this content is FREE!

          Additional podcast recommendations
          Discovery News Audio Podcast


          About the author
          Maggie Bailey (@scientistmaggie)
           
          "I’m the girl at the party having cuddle time with the host’s dog, while blabbing about lichen hunting and my love of lentils. I gravitate towards science and interject conversations with life’s lessons."

          Femme Fatale review

          I hope none of you are shocked by the success of Britney Spears' latest album Femme Fatale. Tonight her second MTV exclusive special airs at 9 PM EST; millions of people will watch live and even more will stream the special online.

          Femme Fatale is the perfect synthesis of old and new Britney. The lyrics are provocative, the beats are layered, and the tone is somewhat chaotic but still cohesive. Rolling Stone gave it four stars; her surprise Las Vegas performances were a smashing success.

          Britney performing 'Big Fat Bass' at Rain Nightclub in Las Vegas.

          Yes, the critics and haters are still mad that she isn't the dancing machine she once was; amazing music isn't enough? I have no doubt that she will blow every one's mind during her US Femme Fatale tour that's kicking off soon.


          Britney knocks it out of the park Everytime. She is Stronger than ever. Yes, she had a break down awhile ago. Yes she has kids and survived two divorces... is that really that Outrageous these days? No. Move on. She has. Despite the tabloid explosions and sell-outs of family and close friends, she continues to make new (incredible) music. She continues to tour (and sell millions of tickets).

          Her seventh studio album is fantastic. What's your favorite track(s)?

          Femme Fatale

          My favorite five tracks
          1. Seal It With a Kiss
          2. Criminal
          3. He About To Lose Me
          4. Gasoline
          5. Til The World Ends
          It was incredibly hard for me to choose only five favorite tracks. There is something appealing about every one of the 16 tracks on the album. Britney showcases complex beats and clever lyrics.

          I can be your treble/you can be my bass? 
          Spot on, B. Spot on.

          I've asked Danielle Look to write a legit review of Femme Fatale. Stay tuned, it's going to be boss.

          If you'd like to listen to Femme Fatale, send me a tweet. I invite all the haters to give Femme Fatale five spins. I guarantee you will be toe tappin' and head bobbin' in no time.

          Secrets and SEO

          A simple principle is demonstrated daily by my team: Together Everyone Achieves More. Get this ... it's actually true.

          Seemingly impossible tasks are suddenly manageable. Instead of feeling your way around (blindfolded) you have a support network.

          In the words of Tenacious D, that's expletive deleted teamwork.

          So why isn't the Search Engine Optimization community working together? I'm talking big scale here, people.

          I attended a conference recently that was supposed to be focused on cutting edge tactics; while I did learn plenty of things, my hair wasn't blown back. Nothing new was introduced; it was all stuff I've heard (or researched) before. You can imagine my disappointment. These are supposed to be premiere thought leaders in my field and they aren't inspiring me.

          What are we all so afraid of? What is so hush-hush about SEO tactics?

          I don't care what kind of 'hat' you are: every tactic can be broken down and reconstructed to fit your needs. Let's figure out why it works and make it work for everyone. The beauty and power of the merging of social and search is the ability to police ourselves. Instant feedback finally gives consumers a voice. And for the first time in history, companies have to listen.

          Imagine focusing energy on getting complete relevancy and total quality for clients that deserve to rank without having to do hours/days/weeks/months worth of research. Sounds pretty great doesn't it?

          I truly believe that this Utopia does exist and that there is a simple way to get there: speak up! Share your ideas! Let those of us with new ideas and new perspectives start being thought leaders.

          I'm tired of having to wait to have my research confirmed. I'm speaking up. Who's with me?



          Feedback is always appreciated! Leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or shoot me an email. :)

          Rafael Sanchez

          The unthinkable happened to me on Thursday: I met one of my personal local media idols Rafael Sanchez.

          He is 'The Watchdog' of WRTV6 in Indianapolis. He also has the most beautiful brown eyes I've ever seen.

          I was approached by my employer on Wednesday about an interview about our four-day work week. I've never been interviewed on camera and I'm not the best at interviews, period. I decided to give my fear the boot and prepared for my close-up.

          I went home, picked out the perfect outfit, and crunched the numbers of my yearly commute.
          • I drive 66 miles each day (Monday through Thursday) to work.
          • I use a little over 3 gallons of gas a day.
          • By not going into the office on Friday, I save almost 170 gallons in gas (that's over $500 give or take) a year.
          I was completely cool (well, as cool as I ever am) the next morning at work. The nerves didn't kick in until the marketing department told me that Rafael 'The Watchdog' Sanchez would be conducting my interview.

          WHAT?
          RAFAEL SANCHEZ IS COMING HERE?
          TO TALK TO ME?

          I immediately started sweating and stanning out. I took deep breathes, ran over my figures, and waited for my prince to arrive.  He was on time and in his trademark yellow jacket. He was also a foot shorter than I imagined.

          Trying to do damage control while Sanchez asks the tough questions.

          As far as the interview goes, I think I did pretty well. It airs this evening on Channel 6. The trouble didn't start until after I'd answered questions and we went to shoot b-roll.

          Sanchez wanted a shot of me walking out of the office. He also wanted a few shots of me entering and exiting my vehicle, as well as pulling into a parking space. I didn't have any reservations until he told me that his cameraman would be riding in the car with me.

          Saving gas, wear and tear on my car, and the environment? Awesome.

          My mind immediately pictured the empty water bottles, laundry detergent, newspapers, and other items littering the interior of the cavalier. Time to stall.

          "Is there any way I can have five minutes to go and clean out my car?" I asked sweetly. Sanchez had to be downtown at the state house by 10:30 am to cover the union protesters -- we didn't have a moment to lose. I straightened by shoulders, smiled, and decided to make the best of it.

          The cameraman couldn't fit himself and camera in the front seat and still get a decent shot; he had to climb into the backseat. I can neither confirm or deny if he got tangled in the seat belt. He was very sweet about the entire situation as I apologized for the interior of my chariot.  He told me repeatedly not to worry -- he had managed to find a way to hold the camera so that you couldn't see all the trash!

          I didn't fall, I didn't swear, and I did my best to make the wind-blown look work for me.  All in all I'd say it was magnificent.

          Windblown? Check. Can't see the trash in the car? Check.

          Oh, and Sanchez has one hell of a handshake.