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Drug Deals, Twerking and Sorority Girls

What a week for news in San Diego! There were three news stories which affected teens and university students this week, where social media played a heavy hand in getting “caught.”

Don’t set up meetings on Facebook.

Students at Abraxas, Mission Hills, Poway and Ramona high schools, and were able to buy narcotics, according to sheriff’s officials. The variety of drugs purchased included heroin, cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone and hydrocodone.  Wow. That’s some pretty serious stuff for high school!  Are you wondering how the authorities track some of these sales? You guessed it. Social Media. The students arranged many of the drug deals over social media.


I now know what Twerking is!

Before I saw this new report, I had no idea what “twerking” was. I’m not sure what to do with this knowledge, but I now know what this suggestive butt-shaking is all about. And this twerking story also revolves around social media. Scripps Ranch High School students found themselves in very hot water after one student decided to share a student-produced twerking video on YouTube. A few problems with that? The video was made on campus and with school equipment.

I say many, many, many times in my social media sessions, “Nothing is private.”  That speaks to things you choose to record or allow others to record (and even things you didn’t know are being recorded).  It certainly applies to the things you post online.

A series of bad decisions led to this video getting made and posted to YouTube. This is not only a “think before you tweet” lesson, but a “think before you do.” What purpose does any of this serve? How will college admissions officers judge this video, and the decision to be in the video? This is another example of a misguided use of social media, and decisions which will only hurt these students in the long run.

Train students to use social media responsibly.

Even at the college level, students made a poor choice this week when it came to posting photos on Instagram. Members of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at CSU San Marcos posted photos of themselves dressed like Latina gang members. Apparently the photos were taken during a retreat.

A few things are disturbing, in addition to the blatant cultural disrespect. A friend of one of the Alpha Chi Omega members said, “We can’t nit-pick every little thing, because there’s a lot more worse things that could happen.” This tells me that many students might think this is “no big deal.” The other problem is that the news report ends with,

A spokesperson for CSU San Marcos told 10News no disciplinary action will be taken against the sorority, but that extra diversity training will soon be offered to all students, especially incoming freshmen.

Where is the social media training? These students will continue to do “stupid stuff” on social media if they are not taught the impact their actions have online. Yes, they need to be more culturally sensitive, however, they need to be more responsible with their communication via social media. I’ve spoken with fraternities and sororities who made similar mistakes on social networks and were disciplined by the university. Part of their requirement to lift sanctions? Learn how to use social media more positively and for better purposes.


These three news reports differ drastically in what actions occurred, however, what they all have in common is that our San Diego high school and university students have a grave misunderstanding of how social media can work against you when you do not behave responsibly online. I’m sure all of these students thought that they wouldn’t get caught, either. And that’s a behavior that’s even more disturbing. Our young adults need to understand that what they do online is just as serious and just as REAL as what they do offline. Behaving badly online is not something you can get away with. Your actions in both realities will catch up to you. I’d like to see more of our students truly understand that.

When pressure builds, what do you tweet?


Running through my various lists of San Diego Sports Tweeps today, I came across this tweet from Bill Johnston, the PR Director for the San Diego Chargers.

I was a little surprised to see the PR Director tweet something so negative.  Ridiculous?  How is pressure for a great draft ridiculous? Or is it the fans who are ridiculous for putting the pressure on the team?  I felt compelled to point this out to him. You can see here my response and his “save.”

This is a really great example of someone not taking that one extra moment to re-read a tweet before hitting the send button. With 6281+ followers, I suspect there are a few Chargers fans in the mix. Would Bill’s tweet have made a more positive impact had he posed a question?

“Who are you hoping the Chargers pick up in the NFL draft?”

Or could he have shed some light on the secret wishes of the players?

 “The buzz in the locker room is that so-and-so is high on the wish list.”

To keep the communications in the positive zone, I responded with:

Main point being, there was a good chance to engage fans and let them have a say, take a moment to interact. The comment/opinion from the PR Director only sets a stage for negative replies, as some might interpret him calling the fans ridiculous.

I’m all for being human and authentic, and certainly feel that even frustrations can be creatively vented online with a dash of humor and an open invite to comment.  When you are a public figure, or sit in a position like the PR Director for a professional sports team, you really must remember that every time you post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or elsewhere, you really have to give second thought to how your post will resonate with your audience.  For someone in Bill’s position, he should be able to turn what seems like a personal frustration into a positive interaction with Chargers fans. Furthermore, and no less significant, when the PR Director for a sports team sends tweets out a bit haphazardly, what kind of example does that set for the players and FO staff?

How do you think Bill should have tweeted his pressure-filled comment? What examples have you seen where a negative sentiment or frustrating situation is turned into a positive moment where fans feel included?  Thanks for sharing your links in the comments!



MINI Mistake

I was at my parents’ house when they asked me if I had heard about MINI’s massive recall. Actually, I hadn’t caught the news, hadn’t received an e-mail from MINI nor did I catch it in any of my social media feeds.

When I got home, I easily found an article about the recall:  CLICK HERE

I combed through my e-mails just to make sure that I didn’t miss something or that the significant letter didn’t land in spamville. Curiously, nothing.  I started to get a little worried. So I went hunting online to see what I could find.

On the MINI USA twitter feed, there was ONE tweet that addressed the issue, dated January 18th:

I couldn’t understand why MINI was addressing owners after the news had been posted. I couldn’t find anything on the website and I imagined that the phone lines would be tied up. So I tweeted to MINI hoping for some information:

Much to my surprise, I received a call from MINI about 20 minutes later. They received my tweet, looked my name up and contacted me. The woman on the phone told me that it looked my vehicle would be affected and that they were collecting their information before they sent out letter to owners affected by the recall.  I gave her two suggestions:

1. Put up a page on the website where owners could enter their VIN number to see if their car was affected. If the VIN number was a hit, let them know that an e-mail or official letter would be forthcoming.

2. Send out an e-mail, a letter or post a message on the website acknowledging the recall and letting MINI owners know that correspondence would be arriving soon.

I explained that MINI owners shouldn’t have to learn through third parties that their cars may be a part of a massive recall. That new should have come directly from MINI, well before it went public.

I did give MINI a shoutout for responding to my tweet with a phone call:

Today, February 22, I finally received the “official” letter in the form of an e-mail from MINI of San Diego, where I got my car. It said:


Attention all MINI “S” model owners only

Your vehicle may be involved in a product part update for your auxiliary water pump. Please reply to this email with:

Your Name – and if possible the last 7 of your vehicle identification number [located on the driver’s side lower windshield corner]

please email Terry Zito at: [email protected]


And so I responded with the appropriate information and received another e-mail which said only:


VIN #######

Your vehicle has no open recalls per MINI data base and OR is equipped with the updated part.

Thank you again for your business


And that was it. No “Dear Shanna” no signature, no personalization or possibility to exceed my expectations.  So I decided to call the ASK MINI number which was previously tweeted. A man answered this time and I explained the chain of events. I told him that I was confused because the woman I spoke with previously had told me that “it looks like your vehicle is affected.” He asked me who I spoke with (the one time I didn’t actually jot down a name!) because there was “no record of the call” and that my vehicle VIN number was definitely not part of the recall. He then asked me, “How many miles do you have on your vehicle?” And when I told him, he said, “That’s about the same you told us in the last call.”  So I told him, “When I called MINI the last time, that was the first time I called. And the woman I spoke with also asked me for the mileage on my car. So if that is the case, how do you know that that was the mileage I reported in the last call if you have no record of my phone call?”  He was clearly embarrassed and then made the excuse that he was confused.  I ended by telling him that the communication from MINI has been less than stellar, and that as a MINI owner, I simply want to understand if my car has been affected. I also explained that I am not the one who should have to seek out the information, but that MINI should be overly accommodating and make it as easy as possible for owners to get information.

As much as I love my MINI, this episode was thoroughly disappointing. Not only did they not deliver what they promise, but the lack of communication and the strange manner in which they quietly handled this… it’s just not in-line with their brand.  It’s a good lesson for other brands.  Sometimes things happen that are unfortunate. Sometimes mistakes happen.  But if you are a solid brand, you own up to it, and take responsibility for the situation. You can actually take advantage of the situation to deliver your core values and strengthen your brand.

Have you ever had an experience where a brand that you love falls short of your expectations? How did your opinion of that brand change?







Aspire to Inspire


As many of you have witnessed from my social media updates, I am a huge football fan.  I became a fan of football, of the San Diego Chargers, when I was ten years old.  I remember my dad watching a game and whichever team was on offense kept running the ball.  This to me looked like men lining up, the QB shouting and then all the men piling on the guy with the ball.  I had to ask my dad, “What is the point of this game?”  Through several Sunday lessons, I found a sport and a team which I loved to watch and cheer for.

The following season, my family started attending the Chargers pre-season training camps. They were held at the UCSD campus, a casual atmosphere.  Once the practice was over, the players made themselves available for autographs and pictures, and friendly chats with young fans like me.  While I loved shaking hands with Dan Fouts and taking pictures with cutie pie Rolf Benirschke, it was Kellen Winslow who stole my heart.  Kellen would not stand in the line of players edging toward the exit, but would sit on the grass and wait for us kids to come and join him.  From there, he would talk to us, shake our hands, ask us our names and talk to us about football, about school, about life.  He was the coolest of the cool.  To this day, I still rave how much I love him and revere him as my all-time favorite player.  His talent on the field is unquestionable.  But it was those moments on the grass which deepened my admiration for him as a man and teacher, and cemented my love for the game of football.

My friend and client, Mimi Donaldson is a professional keynote speaker and also a football fanatic.  She recently wrote the book, Necessary Roughness: New Rules for the Contact Sport of Life.  She is brilliant at relating the game of football to business strategies and life lessons.  Amidst a busy schedule of speaking, Mimi met Chrissy Carew who is also an author of a football-themed book called The Insightful Player: Football Pros Lead a Bold Movement of Hope.  Mimi’s book has 32 chapters to honor each team. Chrissy’s book profiles 32 players (current, retired or HOF). An immediate friendship and business collaboration was formed.  Chrissy’s book recently landed in my mailbox. And apart from being excited to read the profiles of greats like Roger Staubach and current dynamo Antonio Garay of the San Diego Chargers, I noticed that the foreword was written by the CBS Sportscaster, and long-time host of CBS’s “The NFL Today” James Brown.  I jumped right in.

In my many years as a host of CBS’s “The NFL Today” and other sports shows, I’ve met thousands of professional athletes, a substantial number whom have been football players.  Many NFL players have inspired me with their insights, humility, sense of spirituality, and their altruism. Others were more focused on superficial pursuits.

I often ask the question – what’s the difference between these two kinds of players?  Why do some men in the NFL recognize their potential for not just playing a great game, or even winning a Super Bowl ring, but using their global platform to inspire their many fans, especially the youngest, on to personal greatness? Showing kids that hard work and constant practice can turn you into a fine linebacker is a good thing.  Demonstrating that a strong set of ethics and values, along with character and a healthy dose of humility, will pave the way to a meaningful life is undeniably even more important.

JB’s insightful comments, which do not end with these two paragraphs, speak to the heart of my work and the vision of Beaming Bohemian.  I am working with university athletic departments  to educate, enable and empower student athletes to build their personal brand so they may move forward in life with high aspirations, a reason to share knowledge, and a deep desire to inspire others (also graduate as loyal alumni).   Athletic departments build a stronger brand by supporting and promoting their athletes, encouraging social network use, and benefit by expanding donor base via student networks.

I have also communicated similar concepts to the San Diego Chargers, because I believe there are a host of wonderful players on the team, like Antonio Garay, who would do well by sharing their stories with our community and connecting with fans online.  All teams in the NFL could take advantage of this strategy, for that matter.  Beaming Bohemian motivates individual players and the team to recognize their full potential for social good.  I’d like players and their team to develop the attitude of the great Kellen Winslow. Imagine the amount of memorable moments just waiting to be realized and how many young hearts could capture that positive attitude and winning spirit.  Modern media allows us instant connections, public conversations and direct access to all fans. Through these mediums, opportunities online and in real life are abundant for creating those golden moments reminiscent of a great hero of the game sitting on the grass to spend time with the youngest and most impressionable fans.


The image I’ve included in this post is borrowed from bleacherreport.net. Anyone who knows football knows that this photo was taken at the end of the San Diego vs. Miami game in January 1982, otherwise known as “The Epic in Miami” where San Diego won 41 to 38 in overtime. The Epic in Miami is often referred to as one of the greatest games ever played. Winslow caught a playoff record 13 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, while also blocking a field goal with seconds remaining to send the game to overtime in one of the greatest single player efforts in NFL history. What made Winslow’s performance all the more memorable was the fact that during the game he was treated for a pinched nerve in his shoulder, dehydration, severe cramps, and received three stitches in his lower lip. After the game, a picture of Winslow being helped off the field by his teammates became an enduring image in NFL Lore. The following week was also legendary as the Chargers were defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals in what has come to be known as the Freezer Bowl.  (Some text from Wikipedia)


Awesome all the times

02/04/2012 – UPDATE: Thought I would see if Cody Decker had changed his Twitter profile recently. Answer is yes. Slightly. No improvements, though!

Anti-Hero baseball player in the San Diego Padres Organization. Rarely wrong, often a jerk, always adorable… Burning bridges since 1987…….

Note to Cody: Anti-heroes and jerks are never adorable. Ever.


10/30/2011 – UPDATE: I just saw a Cody Decker tweet and was pleased to see his bio had been changed. That turned to confusion though. Here’s the latest version:

Baseball player in the San Diego Padres Organization. Rarely wrong, often a jerk, always adorable… Burning bridges since 1987…….

Not quite the direction you should be going, dear Cody.  Now you identify yourself as a Padre and  tell your fans that you are a jerk. Good plan! I’m sure the Padres would be pleased.  Oh how I would love to consult this guy on his social media strategy.


Recently, a favorite Tweep recommended to all that we follow @Decker6. The Twitter handle belongs to Cody Decker, a Minor League Baseball player for the parent team,  San Diego Padres.  I looked at the account and read the profile:

I play baseball sometimes….. I’m awesome all the times…… Burning bridges since 1987

My initial reaction was to correct this young man’s grammar and so I tweeted, “I’m awesome all the TIMES?” He needs twitter coaching! RT @friarhood Make sure u r following #Padres hot prospect Cody Decker – @Decker6

I noticed though, as I looked more through his profile and scanned his tweets, that this up and coming athlete really could use social coaching.  It is essential that any athlete, personality or celebrity have a polished approach to their social media strategies.  Once you gain that notoriety, and especially when it’s through an organization like the Padres or the UCLA Bruins before that, there is a code of ethics and greater responsibility to be appropriate.  With a manner like Cody Decker here, he’s more likely to turn potential fans away then gain any decent number of followers with his “I’m so cool and I don’t care what you think” approach (Time of post he’s at a whopping 243 followers). Who wants to follow someone who thinks they are soooo awesome and who admits to burning bridges his whole life?  It sets the stage for lack of conversation, lack of engagement, a lack of the foundation that makes social media successful. One could never expect to have a meaningful exchange with @Decker6 because it’s all about him.

Not only is this approach to the Twitterverse bad for him, but it reflects poorly on the Padres that they would employ such a brazen young player who sports a seriously bad attitude.  That’s what makes @Decker6 and other sports figures ripe for social coaching. I’d love to provide the Padres a social media seminar to help them understand how best to harness the power of social media for good causes, to raise awareness for their sport, their community and favorite charities. I’d love to teach them how to engage their fans, solidify their following and gain new loyal fans.  Sure, personal posts can showcase an individual’s personality, but with a positive spin.  I’m amazed that the Padres wouldn’t put a short leash on this guy and tell him to change his Twitter game.

Beaming Bohemian is happy to sit down with you one-on-one and provide social coaching to help you better understand how to maximize your social media accounts.  There is more out there than just Twitter and Facebook, plenty of other platforms which are just as handy, mobile-friendly and gaining in popularity.  Contact me to set up your social coaching session. In the meantime, I’m knocking on the Padres door to see if we can’t arrange a coaching session of a different kind!



Facebook Deals

Today Facebook announced that San Diego was one of just five cities chosen to help launch the new DEALS ON FACEBOOK program.

Facebook says, “A few months ago we launched Check-In Deals, to help you get special offers when you check in at local businesses from your mobile. Today we’re going a step further and testing a new feature to help you find fun experiences to share with your favorite people: Deals on Facebook.

Initially, Deals will be available to people in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco and we hope to expand this test to other cities in the future.”

To acces deals, scroll down the left menu bar on your profile page.  Clicking “Deals” will show you a page with all that’s on offer, including messages letting you know which friends have liked that deal.


Facebook is counting on the popularity of the LIKE button and word-of-mouth advertising to promote what deals available and for users to see what their friends are liking. I’ve already subscribed because I am interested to see what offers pop up and admire Facebook’s strategy.  It’s convenient, too because I don’t have to go to another website like GroupOn or LivingSocial to see what offers are available in my community.

What I don’t like about the deals program on the Facebook platform is that it gives Facebook just that much more information about me.  For small businesses hoping to gain better exposure and not go broke on traditional advertising methods, participating in the Facebook Deals should prove a huge advantage.

Have you subscribed yet?  Will you use the deals offered or are you leery of FB knowing too much about you? Will you promote your small business through Facebook?


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