The trip here helped me understand just how big Alaska is, and how far it is from the lower 48. One little-known fact (at least I didn’t know it): The flight from Seattle to Anchorage is the same length (about 3 hours and 15 minutes) as the flight from Minneapolis to Seattle.
Once I got to Anchorage, it was a relatively short, but amazingly scenic, trip down AK-1 to the Alyeska Hotel. The highway has lots of places to pull over for photos, and while a photo can’t really show the full beauty, here’s a taste (click to enlarge):
One extra positive of coming to present in Alaska is that it’s highly unlikely that many of the participants have heard me speak previously. That lets me do a best-of-the-best presentation. My slides are embedded below:
I’m doing the second in a series of adult education workshops through a grant with Rochester Community and Technical College today. The last session was a social media overview. Here are the slides from the Twitter crash course:
Since I began blogging in 2006, this blog has become the vehicle for my annual family Christmas letter (See the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions.) The advantages have been numerous, including the ability to add color images and video and no need to pay for postal service distribution. Sometimes I’ve even completed it during Thanksgiving.
This is the first time I’ve needed to push it significantly into the New Year, and with some good reasons beyond procrastination. With so much of our family (including grandchildren) home for Christmas, it seemed odd to consider doing this post until I could get updated photos and video featuring them. And once our grandchildren arrived the day after Christmas, it would have been odd to take time away from being with them to be writing about them. After all, they live in Michigan and we don’t get as much in-person time with them as we’d like.
Here’s a picture of me with grandson Judah and his sister Evelyn during one of our family Christmas gatherings, as we Skyped with my daughter Ruthie who was in Vienna (more on that in a bit):
Then the flu hit, and what had been planned as a 6-7 day visit from the Borgs stretched to two full weeks. It was nice having them here that long, although we would have preferred healthier circumstances.
So…somewhat belatedly…here is our Aase family 2012 update.
Our oldest daughter Rachel and her husband Kyle continue to live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with Evelyn, Judah and Aletta. Kyle is in his last semester of seminary and will be looking to move in May to accept a call as a pastor. They have three good options and we pray for wisdom as they try to discern the best one for them.
Speaking of options, as our six kids were growing up we had a family tradition called “The Option Play.” I would pretend I was a quarterback and they were the football and would call out the signals before faking handoff and then pitching. Because I always called out the same numbers in the pre-snap count, this tradition became known as “9-87.” Until they all got too big for me, one of the favorite things I’d hear my kids say was, “Daddy, let’s do 9-87!”
During their Christmas visit I got to continue the tradition with a new generation:
Our oldest son Jacob lives with his wife Alexi in LaCrosse, Wisconsin where he is in the second year of the Physical Therapy program. He got to do an internship in Rochester during August, so it was nice to have him staying with us. We got to ride into work together several times, which was really special. He’ll be doing internships in the Phoenix area this Summer and in Atlanta next Fall. Alexi is working full-time while Jacob devotes himself to studies. He’s halfway through and should be well set for employment prospects a year from May.
Rebekah is in the second year of the two-year RN program at Riverland Community College in Austin. She’s also a member of the Riverland women’s basketball team, and twice has been named NJCAA Division III national player of the week. She also works part time at a local nursing home as an LPN, where Ruthie, who is now back from her seven-month stint in Bulgaria, is working as an RN. It was fun one day recently when I got to bring them lunch at work.
Speaking of Ruthie, she arrived home on Jan. 7 from her mission trip to Bulgaria (another good reason to delay writing this post). She was there with Mission to the World, our Presbyterian Church in America world mission. It was a great experience for her made more bearable for us by Skype and other communications technology. We’re glad to have her back in the U.S.A.
Joe has had quite a year, starting with being a co-captain with our nephew Tom of the Austin High School basketball team that was the first Austin boys team to win the section title and make the state tournament since 1982. It was a fun family night to celebrate the section win together:
Joe and Tom played AAU basketball together with the Minnesota Magic Elite last Spring and Summer, traveling to Pittsburgh, Houston, Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas and Milwaukee (twice) to play against some of the top teams in the country.
Joe had several college scholarship offers, and so we spent much of the Summer and Fall sorting out options. We visited Nebraska-Omaha, Winona State and Minnesota State-Mankato unofficially since they were within driving distance. Here’s a picture of Lisa as we stood in the rain in Mankato watching the Vikings (on Adrian Peterson’s first day of practice):
We took official visits to two Division I schools, Davidson College and Boston University, in September. Jacob came with us on the Boston visit, where we got to (among other things) tour Fenway Park:
It was a happy and proud day in November when Joe and Tom signed their National Letters of Intent to accept scholarship offers: Joe to attend Davidson and Tom to go to Division II University of Sioux Falls.
Joe and Tom were glad to get the college decisions out of the way before their senior season, and it’s been a great year so far. The Packers are 15-0 and currently ranked #2 in the state in Class AAA. We’re hoping for a return trip to Minneapolis for the state tournament in March. Follow the Packers on Twitter, Facebook or on the blog.
John, our youngest, is 14 and in eighth grade. He’s home schooled but is in the middle school orchestra, and also participates in Bible Bowl. Lisa’s home schooling is definitely much simpler now with only John among her students. With Joe’s high school and AAU basketball finishing in March, we will be able to focus more on John’s pursuits. Here’s John with his brothers engrossed in a computer game at Christmas:
As a family, we’re glad to be members of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Rochester, where I am an elder. The congregation has been a great blessing to us, and we’re looking forward to completion of our new church facility, likely in May. The construction is proceeding nicely:
My work also has been going well at Mayo Clinic, where I am the director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. It’s been great having Dr. Farris Timimi as our medical director, and we have a fantastic team. Between our Social Media Summit in October in Rochester, our New York City event in May and many other travels, it’s been gratifying to meet so many people interested in using social media to make health care better.
Only God knows what we have in store for 2013, but it’s likely our house will be a lot quieter this time next year, with Joe going to Davidson and Rebekah and Ruth possibly moving to the Twin Cities. Rachel, Kyle and the kids will likely either be in Kansas or Indiana, and Jacob and Alexi will be far away for his internships.
So as we anticipate lots of changes in the coming year, Lisa and I wish you and yours many blessings in 2013.
The book includes a Foreword by our Mayo Clinic CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, and a special section on legal issues from our Mayo Clinic attorney, Dan Goldman. Our Center for Social Media Medical Director, Dr. Farris Timimi, wrote the Preface. With ideas and insights from 30 thought leaders in health care social media, this book will help you make the case for using social media in your organization.
In addition to working with Meredith Gould on the overall project, I contributed an essay for the Strategy section. To give you a taste of what’s in the book, here is my essay:
Seven Thoughts on Social Media Strategy
Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media
Start from business priorities and goals. Social media isn’t something to do for its own sake or because the tools are shiny and new. Think about what you were hired to do or needs you see in your organization and how these tools can help. In my case, social tools supported our media relations, my first job at Mayo Clinic.
Become personally familiar with the tools. Develop deep familiarity with basic social media platforms by using them. Set up personal accounts before creating any for your employer to help you see how to best apply them for work.
Start by watching and listening. Listen to what others say about your organization. Watch how others use the tools.
Ask for help. People in online communities are generally welcoming of new members, particularly those who approach with a sense of humility.
Pay attention to community norms. If you watch and listen and approach online connections with humility, it’s unlikely you’ll become “that guy.” Don’t act in ways wildly outside community norms for a community if you want to become a trusted member.
Don’t be snowed by the purists. My friend Andy Sernovitz talks about “bloggers who blog about blogging,” for whom any deviation from what they consider the “right” way to engage online is viewed with contempt. They aren’t your audience. Don’t let purists’ opinions keep you from doing what’s right for your situation and organization.
Planning is more important than plans. Think about priorities and why you’re engaging in social media, but keep the planning horizon short. Plan early. Plan often. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The content of any plan isn’t as important as the thought process that informed its development. Our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media works on a 100-day planning cycle. Don’t be afraid of having a similarly short planning cycle.
Strategy in social media isn’t appreciably different from other types of business strategy. You’ll address the same questions: What resources do I have? What tools are available? What could I accomplish with additional resources?
Still, here’s one key way social media business strategy is different:
Altruism pays. Social tools have dramatically reduced the cost of sharing knowledge, and the resulting relationships can be much more valuable than the knowledge itself. Keep costs low and you’ll be amazed at the benefits you’ll realize from sharing freely.